A strong start from Paul Byrd helped Cleveland get past Boston in last season’s playoffs. Unlike the Indians, Byrd is headed back to the postseason this year with the Red Sox.
Byrd takes the mound for Boston against Cleveland for the first time since a late-season trade as the teams continue a four-game series on Tuesday night.
Byrd (11-12, 4.53 ERA) went 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two playoff starts for Cleveland last season, including a win over Boston in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Indians (79-78), who failed to return to the postseason this year, traded Byrd to the Red Sox (92-65) on Aug. 12.
The defending World Series champions clinched at least a wild-card berth with a 5-4 victory on Tuesday. The Red Sox still have a chance to catch Tampa Bay in the AL East, trailing the first-place Rays by 2 1/2 games.
“A lot of guys went down and we found a way to get into the playoffs to defend our title,” Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.” “We have a chance to do what we did last year, and that’s all we were looking for - an opportunity.”
This is the fourth time in six years that the Red Sox will be in the playoffs, a stretch that includes two titles.
“We still have a chance to win the division and win it all,” Boston center fielder Coco Crisp said. “I think we have a better shot this year than we did last year.”
The 37-year-old Byrd, signed by Cleveland as a free agent prior to the 2006 season, went 7-10 with a 4.53 ERA for the Indians this year. He is 5-0 all-time against the Indians, earning those wins in his last five starts against them. He has posted a 1.60 ERA in seven starts versus Cleveland.
Byrd, though, is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in his last two outings, both against Toronto. He is also 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA in his last three home starts.
In his last appearance, the right-hander gave up three runs and six hits in six innings as Boston beat Toronto 4-3 on Friday.
Jason Bay, acquired earlier this season by the Red Sox in the deal involving Manny Ramirez, had the go-ahead single as Boston scored three times in the fifth inning to rally from a two-run deficit on Tuesday. The Red Sox scored more than four runs for the first time since a 13-5 win over the Rays on Sept. 15.
Boston will now face struggling Indians starter Fausto Carmona (8-7, 5.19), who is 2-2 with a 7.58 ERA in his last five outings and was involved in a bench-clearing brawl in his last start.
Carmona was suspended six games for his role in an altercation against Detroit on Friday, which was started when he hit Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield with a pitch. Carmona is appealing his suspension.
The right-hander gave up four runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings as Cleveland won 6-5.
Carmona is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in one start and two relief appearances all-time against the Red Sox.