Tony Pena celebrates his walk-off home run in the 13th inning of Game 1 of the 1995 ALDS against the Red Sox
On Thursday evening, the Indians will make their first trip to the ALDS since 2007 as they face the Boston Red Sox. The Indians have met the Red Sox a number of times in the playoffs – 3 times in the ALDS, once in the ALCS, and then once in a one-game playoff in the pre-divisional era. Let’s take a look at these 5 matchups between the two teams, and some of the highlights (and lowlights).
2007 ALCS: Indians (96-66 regular season) vs. Red Sox (96-66 regular season, better record head-to-head). The Indians had a 3-1 game lead in this series, but managed to lose 4-3. If there’s anything that this series, and the 2016 NBA finals have taught us – don’t get cocky when you have a 3-1 game lead, because the series is not yet over.
Game 1 (in Boston) – Boston 10, Indians 3 – Josh Beckett got the win and CC Sabathia struggled against the Red Sox lineup.
Game 2 (in Boston) – Indians 13, Red Sox 6 (11 innings) – I remember that I thought this game could be the turning point. Now the Indians would return home with home field advantage for the rest of the series – 3 games to be played at Jacobs Field with just 2 more scheduled for Fenway Park. Roberto Hernandez (at the time still Fausto Carmona) only made it through the fourth inning of the game, allowing 4 ER on 4 hits. Rafael Perez (usually very solid) allowed the Red Sox’s other 2 runs. Then the Indians got dynamite performances from the rest of their bullpen, a cast that included Jensen Lewis, Rafael Betancourt, Tom Mastny, and Joe Borowski.
Curt Schilling didn’t make it out of the fifth inning either, allowing 5 ER on 9 hits, while Manny Delcarmen allowed the Indians’ sixth run. After that, they got solid performances from their bullpen until they went to Eric Gagne, who went to the Red Sox in a big deadline deal with the Rangers that summer. The Indians got two runs off of Gagne, and then they continued to rack up 5 more runs in the top of the 11th inning. They returned to Cleveland with the series tied 1-1.
Game 3 (in Cleveland) – Indians 4, Red Sox 2 – Jake Westbook went the distance against Daisuke Matsuzaka, a big off-season signing for the Red Sox.
Game 4 (in Cleveland) – Indians 7, Red Sox 3 – Soft-tossing Paul Byrd pitched a great game for the Indians, allowing just 2 ER on 6 hits in 5 IP. For the Red Sox, the Indians were able to knock around knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The Indians offense was fueled by a 3-run home run from Jhonny Peralta.
Game 5 (in Cleveland) – Red Sox 7, Indians 1 – I mean, things looked promising heading into this game. Yes, the Indians had problems with Beckett in Game 1. But they also had their ace on the mound, and he was looking to redeem himself after a poor performance in Game 1. He did not earn redemption. With his sub-par outing and the Indians managing just 5 hits against Beckett, the series would return to Boston with the Indians up 3-2.
Game 6 (in Boston) – Red Sox 12, Indians 2 – A poor outing from the Indians’ number 2 pitcher (Hernandez/Carmona) put this game out of reach early for the Indians, as Boston led 10-1 by the end of the third inning. Curt Schilling had a much better outing than his performance in Game 2, to tie the series at 3-3.
Game 7 (in Boston) – Red Sox 11, Indians 2 – I briefly mentioned this game in another post. It was a close game until the seventh inning, when third base coach Joel Skinner held Kenny Lofton at third instead of sending him home on a Franklin Gutierrez single. Lofton probably could have scored safely, and it would’ve tied the game at 3. Jake Westbrook did not have a bad outing – he allowed 3 ER on 9 hits over 6 IP. The surprising person to fall apart in this game was the normally reliable Rafael Betancourt, who allowed 6 ER on 5 hits in 1.2 IP. After Boston advanced to the World Series, they essentially steamrolled the Colorado Rockies; a team that had a lot of rest between the NLCS and the World Series. You have to wonder if the Indians would’ve been able to do the same…we never got to find out.
1999 ALDS: Indians (97-65 in the regular season, 2nd seed overall) vs. Red Sox (94-68 in the regular season, wild card) – The Indians ended up losing this series 3-2; they won the first two games in Cleveland, but then lost the next three games (2 in Boston, 1 in Cleveland).
Game 1 (in Cleveland) – Indians 3, Red Sox 2 (walk-off) – Even though Pedro Martinez started this game for the Red Sox, it was Derek Lowe that was credited with all 3 runs; 2 of which were unearned (Martinez left with an injury). Manny Ramirez reached after an error by John Valentin at third, and scored on a Jim Thome home run. In the ninth inning, a hit-by-pitch, walk, and single loaded the bases with just one out. Lowe was pulled in favor of Rheal Cormier, who was then pulled for Rich Garces. Garces was the one that surrendered the game-winning single by Travis Fryman (which was charged to Lowe).
Game 2 (in Cleveland) – Indians 11, Red Sox 1 – The Indians offense jumped all over Brett Saberhagen and John Wasdin, while Charlie Nagy pitched 7 solid innings for the Tribe. Steve Karsay and Mike Jackson closed out the game for the Indians.
Game 3 (in Boston) – Red Sox 9, Indians 3 – Dave Burba opened the game for the Indians and was solid through 4 IP – 0 ER and just 1 hit allowed. He was followed by Jaret Wright, who allowed 5 ER on 4 hits in just 2 IP. Ramon Martinez had a strong outing for Boston.
Game 4 (in Boston) – Red Sox 23, Indians 7 – This was bad…very bad. You can’t put the blame on just one person either – Bartolo Colon and Steve Reed allowed 7 and 8 runs, respectively, while Steve Karsay and Paul Assenmacher both allowed 3 ER, and Paul Shuey 2 ER. It’s like nobody could stop the bleeding.
Game 5 (in Cleveland) – Red Sox 12, Indians 8 – Another high scoring affair; this game was already 8-7 Indians by the end of the third inning. Another rocky outing from Saberhagen, and a few bad innings from Lowe. Unfortunately this time, Nagy was just as bad – 7 ER on 6 hits in just 3 IP. The Red Sox would go on to lose to the Yankees in the ALCS 4-1.
1998 ALDS: Indians (89-73 in the regular season, 2nd seed) vs. Red Sox (92-70 in the regular season, wild card) – The Indians won this series 3-1; after they lost the first game, they won the next three to advance to the ALCS against the Yankees.
Game 1 (in Cleveland) – Red Sox 11, Indians 3 – Jaret Wright had a rough outing for the Tribe, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits in 4.1 IP. Steve Reed and Doug Jones managed to give up the other 5 runs. Pedro Martinez was Boston’s starter, and the Indians managed just 3 ER on 6 hits off of him in 7 IP.
Game 2 (in Cleveland) – Indians 9, Red Sox 5 – While Dwight Gooden and Dave Burba gave up 5 runs between the two of them, Tim Wakefield, John Wasdin, and Derek Lowe were worse. The Indians scored 5 of those runs in the second inning, to give them an early 6-2 lead after two. Four of the Indians RBI came from David Justice, who went 2-for-4 overall.
Game 3 (in Boston) – Indians 4, Red Sox 3 – This game got wild at the end, but the Indians were able to hold on for the win. Entering the ninth inning, the Tribe was up 3-1. They added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Manny Ramirez hit a solo home run off of Dennis Eckersley (his second of the game). Nomar Garciaparra answered with a two-run home run off of Mike Jackson in the bottom of the ninth, but he was able to get the final two outs without incident to hold on for the win.
Game 4 (in Boston) – Indians 2, Red Sox 1 – Pete Schourek and Derek Lowe held the Indians scoreless into the eighth inning, while Tribe starter Bartolo Colon allowed just 1 ER. In the eighth, Tom Gordon surrendered a two-run double to David Justice, scoring Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel. The Indians’ bullpen kept Boston scoreless in the eighth and ninth as the Indians clinched the series. They lost to the 114-win Yankees (who went on to win the World Series) in the ALCS 4-2.
1995 ALDS: Indians (100-44 in the regular season) vs. the Red Sox (86-58, AL East champs) – Oddly, the Indians didn’t have home field advantage for this series thanks to pre-determined seeding that did not involve their regular season record. That didn’t matter though; this was a team that managed to win 100 games in a year shortened by the residual effects of the 1994 strike season. They beat Boston 3-0. (It was supposed to be the first 2 games in Cleveland, and the final 3 games in Boston)
Game 1 (in Cleveland) – Indians 5, Red Sox 4 (13 innings) – The 21st anniversary of this classic game was earlier this week – October 3. The Indians returned to the postseason after a 41-year absence in style, with a walk-off win thanks to a Tony Pena home run in the 13th inning off of Zane Smith. Albert Belle also had a big game for the Tribe, going 2-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI. The starters for the game were Roger Clemens and Dennis Martinez, both of whom pitched well – 2 ER and 3 ER allowed, respectively. The Red Sox tied the game at 3 in the 8th inning, and then both teams added a run in the eleventh inning before the exciting walk-off.
Game 2 (in Cleveland) – Indians 4, Red Sox 0 – The Indians got great pitching performances from Orel Hershiser, Julian Tavarez, Paul Assenmacher, and Jose Mesa, who allowed just 3 total hits and 0 ER against the Red Sox. The offense was fueled by a 2-run home run from Eddie Murray, and 2 RBI from Omar Vizquel.
Game 3 (in Boston) – Indians 8, Red Sox 2 – The Tribe was propelled to victory by strong pitching performances – Charlie Nagy, Julian Tavarez, and Paul Assenmacher combined for 2 ER and 7 hits. On the offensive end, the Indians got 3 RBI from Jim Thome (including a home run) and 2 RBI from Omar Vizquel. The Indians went on to beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 in the ALCS, and lost to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series 4-2.
1948 One Game Playoff: Indians (96-58 regular season) vs. the Red Sox (96-58 regular season) – Long before the era of divisional play, the Indians and Red Sox tied atop the American League in 1948, forcing a one-game playoff. The Tribe, behind rookie pitcher Gene Bearden, beat the Red Sox 8-3 at Fenway Park to advance to the World Series. Bearden pitched a complete game, allowing just 1 ER on 5 hits. An error by Joe Gordon allowed Hall of Famer Ted Williams to reach base for the Red Sox in the 6th inning; he then scored on a home run by Bobby Doerr, both runs unearned.
Shortstop/manager Lou Boudreau went 4-for-4 in the game, with 2 RBI, and third baseman Ken Keltner went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. The Indians then advanced to the World Series, where they beat the Boston Braves 4-2.