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A brief history of the Indians and Red Sox in the postseason

Hello Red Sox, my old friend.

The last victory by the Tribe in Cleveland by the Indians
The last victory by the Tribe in Cleveland by the Indians
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

As the end of the season was drawing to a close, much of the discussion was centered on whether the Tribe could secure home-field advantage in the playoffs. There was also much debate on who the Cleveland Indians should want to face in the American Division and/or Championship Series.

When the dust settled, the Indians secured home field for the ALDS and unsurprisingly enough will face the Boston Red Sox, winners of the AL East. The discussion of which team is better on paper shall be covered elsewhere. But if this matchup seems familiar, your recollection is correct.

This will be the fifth postseason matchup between these two original American League franchises. The Indians have faced the New York Yankees three times, the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners twice, and the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Game in 2013. They have not faced any other AL team in the playoffs.

[Interesting side note is that they have a losing record to just the Rays in all AL playoff games, as well as the Florida/Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants in the NL.]

1995 AL Division Series: Cleveland 3, Boston 0

The powerhouse Indians, after dominating the American League for the entire strike-shortened season to the tune of a 100-44 record, opened their playoff drought of 41 years by playing the winners of the AL East.

Jacob's Field was rocking like it had been for the entire season. Game 1 went to extra innings tied at 3-3. In the eleventh, Tim Naehring hit a solo shot of Jim Poole, but Albert Belle tied it back up in the bottom half with a blast and then flexed for the Red Sox dugout. Tony Pena ended up walking it off in the thirteenth with his own solo shot.

In Game Two, Orel Hershiser and the bullpen allowed just three hits and shutout the Red Sox 4-0. After a day off, the Tribe finished off the Red Sox 8-2 in Fenway, powered by a five-run sixth inning.

1998 AL Division Series: Cleveland 3, Boston 1

This ALDS also opened at Jacob's Field as the Red Sox were the AL Wild Card that year, finishing 22 games back of the 114-48 Yankees. But the Red Sox did have a better record than the Tribe by three games over the course of the season.

In Game 1, Jaret Wright gave up three quick runs in the first on a Mo Vaughn blast, as Pedro Martinez kept the Tribe at bay the rest of the game. The Sox put up eight more runs on the bullpen and cruised to an 11-3 victory.

In Game 2, a five-run second inning off of Tim Wakefield and John Wasdin, let the Indians cruise to 9-5 win. This all happened with Dwight Gooden not recording an out in the first and Dave Burba and the rest of the bullpen picking up the slack.

Game 3 was a duel between Charles Nagy and Bret Saberhagen. The Tribe plated four with four solo shots by Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, and a pair from Manny Ramirez. The second of which was in the ninth off of Dennis Eckersley. This proved to be the difference as Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run bomb of Mike Jackson in the ninth, but they fell short 4-3.

The Tribe finished off the series with a tight 2-1 victory in Game 4. Bartolo Colon and the bullpen were fantastic again, allowing just six hits (but five walks) and the only damage another Garciaparra homer. The Tribe took the lead in the eighth on a two-run double by David Justice.

1999 AL Division Series: Boston 3, Cleveland 2

In a rematch from the season prior, Colon and Martinez dueled in Game 1. Martinez had to leave after just four shutout innings. Colon struck out 11 in eight frames, with just five hits. The game was tied in the ninth because of a two-run blast by Jim Thome in the sixth, both unearned to Derek Lowe because of a John Valentin error. The Tribe walked off on a bases loaded single from Travis Fryman.

Game 2 was a blowout at Jacob's Field with the Indians scoring 11 runs in the third and fourth off Bret Saberhagen and John Wasdin. Most of the damage was a three-run shot by Harold Baines and a grand slam by Thome as Nagy waltzed to the win.

In Game 3, it was tight 3-3 contest heading into the bottom of the seventh. The Red Sox exploded for six runs off Wright, Ricardo Rincon, and Sean DePaula with a Valentin and Brian Daubach doing the most damage.

The bats stayed scorching hot in Game 4 as they absolutely murdered the Indians staff in Game 4. The Sox scored 23 runs on 24 hits with seven off of Bartolo Colon and eight off Steve Reed. The Tribe was decent offensively, scoring seven runs in the 23-7 loss, knocking out Kent Mercker in the second, but it was obviously not enough.

In the series finale, it was set up to be Nagy against Saberhagen. The Tribe offense came alive early, burning Saberhagen and Lowe for eight runs in the first three innings, including two Thome bombs. But Nagy could not hold the tide. He left in the fourth with the scored tied 8-8 with Troy O'Leary hitting a grand slam in the third being the big blow. This is when Jimy Williams made the great call to bring in Pedro Martinez in relief. He no-hit the Indians over the final six frames, walking just three and striking out eight. It stayed tied until the seventh, when O'Leary homered again, this time just three runs and the series was essentially over.

2007 AL Championship Series: Boston 4, Cleveland 3

For the first time, this matchup opened in Fenway. And Fenway was glorious to the Red Sox in Game 1. They battered CC Sabathia and Jensen Lewis into submission, cruising to a 10-3 victory. Asdrubal Cabrera had a pair of RBI and Travis Hafner had a blast in the first, but Manny Ramirez had three RBI (two on bases-loaded walks) to beat his original team.

Neither Fausto Carmona (nee Roberto Hernandez) nor Curt Schilling were around for the end of Game 2. Both leaving in the fifth after subpar outings. The game was tied at six and headed to extras. In the eleventh, the Indians scored seven runs, three on a Franklin Gutierrez homer to tie the series up.

Jake Westbrook beat Daisuke Matsuzaka 4-2 in Game 3, back at Jacob's. Lofton had a two-run home run in the second and Cabrera and Hafner had an RBI each in the fifth.

In Game 4, Paul Byrd nibbled and got through five innings. Jensen Lewis put out a fire in the sixth and Rafael Betancourt threw two perfect frames as the Tribe won 7-3 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. All seven of the Tribe's runs came in the fifth with Casey Blake opening the scoring with a solo shot and Jhonny Peralta with a three run homer.

So with ace CC Sabathia on the mound for Game 5, all looked promising. But Josh Beckett was also up to the task. The Sox only led 2-1 going to the seventh, when Dustin Pedroia doubled, Kevin Youkilis tripled and David Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly. Thre more runs in the eighth off Rafael Perez and Tom Mastny made the final 7-1.

Game 6 was back in Fenway, with Fausto taking the hill once again. But somehow every close pitch Fausto threw in the first was called a ball by Dana DeMuth. The Sox had two infield singles and a walk, and then Fausto grooved one to J.D.Drew for a grand slam. Another two walks in the third doomed Fausto, as the Sox tacked on six more to make it a 10-1 lead, and the final score was 12-2, forcing a Game 7.

Westbrook struggled in the first of Game 7, but escaped with just one run on four hits. Two more tallies in the second and third made it 3-0 Red Sox after three. The Indians nibbled back by scoring once each in the fourth and fifth. They could have tied in the seventh if not for an ill-fated stop sign by Joel Skinner. As it was Casey Blake committed an error in the bottom of the seventh and Pedroia belted a two run shot off Betancourt to make it 5-2. In the eighth, the Sox added six more to make the final 11-2 and securing themselves a shot at the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.


So of the four series already played by the two franchises, three of them have come in the division round, so this year's matchup makes sense from that perspective. They have split the four series, so this year's matchup is the "rubber" series in that regard as well.

Overall, the Indians are 11-8 in all playoff games against the Red Sox, good enough for a 0.579 percentage. But Pythag has the Red Sox with a scary 0.602 percentage, outscoring the Indians 124-99 in those same playoff games (a bulk of that being that 23-7 drubbing).

This matchup should be an interesting one to watch due to the history between the two clubs. But as always, Let's Go Tribe!