Which team should Red Sox want to play, Indians or Rays?

Rob Bradford
September 30, 2013 - 9:53 pm

Take your pick. Do you want the team in the Indians that has won 10 games in a row, exuding the kind of feeling not seen since the 2007 Colorado Rockies? (Remember, the club that went 21-1 before being swept by the Red Sox in the World Series?) Or how about the Rays, an American League East rival that has given you a boatload of headaches for the last half-decade (48-43 advantage for Tampa Bay in the last five seasons)? These are the options the Red Sox find themselves facing. After the Rays' 5-2 win over the Rangers, Tampa Bay now gets a crack at Cleveland in Wednesday night'€™s Wild Card play-in at Jacobs Field. The winner, of course, earns the right to play the Red Sox in a best-of-five division series. So which club should the Red Sox want to play? RAYS vs. Red Sox in '€™13: 7-12. Starters vs. Red Sox in '€™13: Matt Moore (2 starts, 2-0, 15 innings, 1.80 ERA, .102 opponent'€™s batting average); David Price (5 starts, 2-2, 32 2/3 innings, 2.48 ERA, .167 batting average against); Alex Cobb (4 starts, 0-1, 22 2/3 innings, 5.16 ERA, .270 batting average against). Top hitters vs. Jon Lester: Wil Myers 2-for-3; Desmond Jennings 9-for-25, .360; Jose Molina 9-for-26, .346. Worst hitters vs. Lester: David DeJesus 1-for-17, .059; Ben Zobrist 9-for-58, .188; Delmon Young 6-for-31, .194; Evan Longoria 11-for-50, .220. Lester vs. Rays in '€™13: Four starts, 2-1, 4.32 ERA (3 outings of 2 runs or less). Top hitters vs. John Lackey: Yunel Escobar 8-for-15, .533; Ben Zobrist 11-for-27, .407; Delmon Young 6-for-17, .353; Evan Longoria 10-for-31, .323. Worst hitters vs. Lackey: Desmond Jennings 1-for-11, .091; Kelly Johnson 3-for-15, .200; James Loney 4-for16, .250. Lackey vs. Rays in '€™13: Two starts (both on road), 0-1, 8.10 ERA. Top hitters vs. Clay Buchholz: David DeJesus 4-for-11, .364; Jose Molina 7-for-22, .318. Worst hitters vs. Buchholz: Kelly Johnson 1-for-10, .100; Ben Zobrist 4-for-36, .111; Yunel Escobar 3-for-16, .188; Evan Longoria 7-for-34, .206. (13 strikeouts). Buchholz vs. Rays in '€™13: Two starts, 2-0, 0.00 (13 innings, 5 hits, .122 batting average against). Reasons why Sox should fear Rays: 1. Always seem to play Sox tough; 2. Starting pitching; 3. Familiarity with Red Sox. Reasons why Sox shouldn'€™t fear Rays: 1. Lineup can be pitched to; 2. End-of-game relievers are inconsistent; 3. Have handled them for most part this season. INDIANS vs. Red Sox in '€™13: 1-6. Starters vs. Red Sox in '€™13: Ubaldo Jimenez (1 start, 0-1, 1.2 innings, 37.80 ERA, .333 batting average against); Danny Salazar (Never faced); Scott Kazmir (1 start, 0-0, 2 ER, 5 H, 5 IP); Zach McAllister (2 starts, 1-1, 10 innings, 5.40 ERA, .275 batting average against). Top hitters vs. Jon Lester: Asdrubal Cabrera 7-for-21, ,333; Nick Swisher 17-for-53, .321; Carlos Santana 3-for-10, .300. Worst hitters vs. Lester: Ryan Raburn 2-for-12, .167; Mike Aviles 2-for-11, .182; Jason Kubel 3-for-14, .214. Lester vs. Indians in '€™13: Two starts, 1-0, 3.86 ERA (14 innings, 6 ER). Top hitters vs. John Lackey: Michael Brantley 2-for-5, .400; Jason Giambi 13-for-40, .325. Worst hitters vs. Lackey: Carlos Santana 1-for-7, .143; Nick Swisher 10-for-64, .156; Asdrubal Cabrera 4-for-23, .174; Jason Kubel 3-for-17, .176. Lackey vs. Indians in '€™13: One start, 1-0, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER. Top hitters vs. Clay Buchholz: Jason Kipnis 2-for-4, .500; Asdrubal Cabrera 4-for-9, .444; Nick Swisher 5-for-15, .333. Worst hitters vs. Buchholz: Michael Brantley 0-for-9, .000; Jason Kubel 0-for-5, .000; Carlos Santana 1-for-5, .200. Buchholz vs. Indians in '€™13: No starts. Reasons why Sox should fear Indians: 1. Hottest team in baseball; 2. Return of Terry Francona; 3. Ubaldo Jimenez one of American League'€™s hottest pitchers. Reasons why Sox shouldn'€™t fear Indians: 1. Beaten up on bad teams; 2. Starters after Jimenez don'€™t strike fear; 3. Bullpen uncertainty. [poll id=68]