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Red Sox hope to solve Indians’ Tomlin in do-or-die Game 3

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin delivers pitch

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin delivers pitch against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium in Bronx on Friday, August 5, 2016. Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

BOSTON — Maybe two full days off will help jolt baseball’s top offense.

The excitement of the postseason certainly hasn’t.

The Red Sox, who led the major leagues in the regular season with 878 runs, trail the Indians two games to none in their best-of-five American League Division Series.

lSunday afternoon’s Game 3 was rained out and was rescheduled for 6:08 p.m. Monday at Fenway Park, with Josh Tomlin of the Indians going against Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox.

Though Boston starters Rick Porcello and David Price certainly did not distinguish themselves in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland — the former lasted 4 1⁄3 innings, the latter 3 1⁄3 — neither did the Red Sox offense. Boston was outscored 11-4.

The four runs came in Game 1, but the Red Sox also struck out 14 times in that 5-4 loss. They did a bit better in that category in Game 2 against Corey Kluber, Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw but were shut out, 6-0.

“In Game 1, clearly we expanded the strike zone quite a bit, and that’s not just one guy in particular,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday. “You look at the number of breaking balls and the number of fastballs above the zone, we did a good job against Kluber, yet the bottom-line results were no different. We’ve just got to get back to play our brand of baseball. And that is relentless at-bats, that is being aggressive on the basepaths when the opportunities present [themselves].”

The Red Sox probably couldn’t have scripted a better Game 3 scenario to get back in the series.

The game is at Fenway, where they outscored the opposition 477-380 this season. And they will face Tomlin, who allowed 36 homers in 174 innings this year in going 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA.

The 31-year-old righthander didn’t do horribly in his one start against the Red Sox, a 3-2 loss on Aug. 15. He allowed three runs and seven hits, including homers by David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr., in 7 2⁄3 innings. That game, however, was in Cleveland.

So is pitching at Fenway different from pitching in other ballparks?

“Yes and no,” said Tomlin, 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA and four homers allowed in three career starts at Fenway Park. “You don’t want to think it is. But this ballpark is unique. You can beat a guy on a pitch and jam him and they go off the wall for a single or stuff like that. But you can’t let that, the fact that it is so unique, kind of creep into your mind and try to do something different. You just have to go out there and pitch to your strengths and try to just limit the damage as much as you can.”


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