Here are seven things to know about the Indians' win:
1. David Price's postseason woes continue
The Red Sox gave Price a seven-year, $217 million deal (with an opt-out, yes) this past offseason, and the first question at his introductory press conference was regarding his poor postseason record. He said he was saving all his playoff wins for the Red Sox.
You see, he was 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 career postseason appearances entering the season. A deep playoff run accompanied by him exorcising some playoff demons would have gone a long way in justifying his contract to many people.
This didn't come close to happening on Friday. Price didn't even get out of the fourth inning, allowing five earned runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. The damage mostly came in a four-run second inning, where the big blow was a three-run Lonnie Chisenhall homer -- an absolute laser down the right-field line.
Despite the overall bad numbers, Price had always been able to work deep into postseason games. His previous shortest playoff start was six innings, and he missed that here by eight outs.
All around, this was pretty terrible for Price.
2. Corey Kluber stepped up
On the flip-side, Kluber, the Indians' ace and possibly Cy Young winner, did his job. He came out against the best offense in baseball and dealt for seven innings. He allowed only three hits and three walks while striking out seven. It was his first start since Sept. 26, and he's been dealing with a quad issue. No matter. He looked the part of a Cy Young winner here.
He did put two base-runners on in the top of the eighth and needed a hand from the bullpen, but ...
3. The Indians' bullpen usage in Game 1 didn't matter
Just as I suspected it wouldn't (see, I'm right sometimes!), Terry Francona extending his bullpen to win Game 1 didn't come back to bite his team in Game 2. Dan Otero is a stud and wasn't even used in Game 1. He came on with two on and no out against the top of the Red Sox's order in the eighth. He struck out Dustin Pedroia, got a scary-looking lineout from Brock Holt -- but an out nonetheless -- and got a routine grounder from Mookie Betts.
That carried over a six-run lead to the ninth, where no high-leverage relievers are even necessary. Bryan Shaw did the job with ease -- along with the help of Mike Napoli's diving stab at first base -- in the ninth and it was over. A shutout for Francona's team, one day after using his two best relievers for 40 pitches apiece.
So for anyone acting like Francona made a huge mistake by leveraging Game 2 in order to win Game 1, look at the scoreboard. He just beat you. Again.
4. Lonnie Chisenhall's homer was an extreme long shot
No, I don't mean the home run went a long way. I mean the odds against it happening were huge.
Price is left-handed and only gave up seven homers to lefties all season. Chisenhall is also a lefty and hit .217/.294/.348 with zero homers against lefties this season. In his career, he's hit .237/.289/.368 with just eight home runs in 367 plate appearances against left-handers. He hadn't hit a home run since May 31, 2014 (Franklin Morales).
Before that you'd have to go back to 2013 to find a Chisenhall home run off a big-league lefty. And Friday he clubbed one against last year's Cy Young runner-up.
5. There's a fun trade deadline Indians' story here
Remember back in late July when we thought the Indians were getting All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy and instead he vetoed the deal? Roberto Perez is now catching for the Indians in the playoffs and Friday he drew a pair of walks while also scoring a run. He had two hits including a home run in Game 1, so he's having a good series.
Meanwhile, here's a move the Indians did make on Aug. 1 that completely flew under the radar:
That was one of those moves that elicits a shoulder shrug, but filling out the depth of a roster matters come playoff time, and Guyer has already paid big dividends. He got the scoring started with an RBI single in the second and then scored on Chisenhall's home run. On the game, he was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and that RBI.
6. Let's not ignore the Red Sox offense
Yes, the Indians pitched well and deserve credit, but the Red Sox's bats can shoulder some of the blame. During the regular season, they led the majors in most offensive categories, hitting .282/.348/.461 as a team. The league average line was .257/.321/.423, so they weren't just better, they were exponentially better than average.
In Game 2, the Red Sox managed just three hits and they were all singles. In the situation mentioned above, they got two on with no out and the dangerous top of the order coming up and made three straight outs.
That's just not going to cut it.
7. The Red Sox face long odds
Much like Dayn Perry noted in the Blue Jays-Rangers wrap, the following thing is true of best-of-five series that start 2-0:
- Forty-three times the team with the 2-0 lead went on to sweep.
- Twenty times the team with the 2-0 lead went on to win the series but didn't sweep.
- Nine times the team down 0-2 came back to win the series.
This isn't to say the Red Sox are done. Far from it. The offense is capable of exploding back in Fenway Park and anything can happen in a Game 5. They are, however, definitely running on fumes.
And the Indians have a commanding lead. Believeland all over again?