The American League Division Series could reach a rapid conclusion Sunday with the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers already facing elimination after dropping the first two games against the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively.

Boston and Texas don’t have to look back too far for a source of optimism, though. Just last year, the Blue Jays fought back from a 2-0 hole to stun the Rangers in the ALDS. Surely that provides some added motivation for Jeff Banister’s group to flip the script this time around.

Let’s check out all of the important details for Sunday’s slate, including viewing information and odds for both matchups. That’s followed by game previews and predictions.


Sunday’s MLB Playoff Schedule


Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox (2-0 CLE)

The Red Sox wanted to give David Ortiz a storybook ending to his career, but that’s not going to happen unless the team’s starting pitching improves in a hurry. Rick Porcello gave up five earned runs in 4.1 innings in Game 1, and David Price allowed the same number of runs in 3.1 innings in Game 2.

Now they turn to Clay Buchholz to save their playoff hopes. He finished the regular season with a lackluster 4.78 ERA, but it’s worth noting he pitched much better after the All-Star break. His ERA was 5.91 in the first half and 3.22 in the second half.

Preventing the Indians from building another early lead is essential. Beyond that, longtime Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia believes the team has simply gotten away from playing its brand of baseball so far, per Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.

“I think we’ve kind of lost who we are,” Pedroia said. “We’re the Boston Red Sox. We need to go out there and play the game. We should dictate the tempo of the game and how everything should be played.”

Meanwhile, what the Indians have been able to accomplish with injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar is astonishing. But now their rotation depth will get tested as they trot out Josh Tomlin to face the league’s highest-scoring offense.

John Buccigross of ESPN commented on the Indians’ ability to attack the potent Boston lineup:

Ultimately, the lack of reliability from the Red Sox starting staff makes it difficult to envision a path where they win three straight games. But the offense is too strong to go down with a whimper, so they should slug their way to a Game 3 victory to stay alive.


Prediction: 7-5 Red Sox


Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays (2-0 TOR)

The Blue Jays faded down the stretch of the regular season, looking nothing like a team capable of making a World Series run. But when there’s a roster with that much talent, especially offensively, sometimes all it takes is one spark to turn things completely around.

It seems that’s exactly what’s happened with Toronto after it survived an 11-inning battle with the Baltimore Orioles in the Wild Card Round. The team’s bats have returned to form, pounding out 15 runs over the first two games against Texas.

SportsCenter highlighted the odds for teams in the Jays’ current spot:

The Rangers must do a much better job in clutch situations if they want to get back in the series. They threatened in each of the final three innings of Game 2 but came away with just two runs in those frames and three runs for the game. In all, they left 13 men on base.

But Texas does have the added motivation of the Jays’ aforementioned comeback in this round last year to lean on. Third baseman Adrian Beltre admitted it’s something on the team’s collective mind as it heads north of the border for Game 3, per T.R. Sullivan and Gregor Chisholm of

“We have to win,” Beltre said. “There’s no tomorrow. Not only that, we’re trying to do what they did to us last year. Hopefully we can turn it around and do the same thing they did to us last year. We know we can do it. We just need to get it done in the field. There’s no doubt we believe in this team.”

Alas, the pitching matchup favors Toronto. Aaron Sanchez, who went 15-2 with a 3.00 ERA for the Jays during the regular season, will take on Colby Lewis. The Rangers’ starter gave up 19 homers in 19 starts, which isn’t a hopeful sign as he prepares to face a power-filled lineup.


Prediction: 5-4 Blue Jays


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