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Playoff Reset: Indians vs. Red Sox ALDS Game 3

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The Game: Cleveland Indians @ Boston Red Sox, ALDS Game 3
The Time: 4:00 PM EDT
The Place: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Josh Tomlin (Indians) vs. Clay Buchholz (Red Sox)

The Upshot:

Eleven years ago, Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) and Clay Buchholz (8-10, 4.78 ERA) competed for an infield spot on the Angelina College Roadrunners. On Sunday, they’ll share the field again, albeit under wildly different circumstances.

Now that the Indians have blazed through their top two starters, they’ll go to Tomlin to lock down a series sweep on the road. Tomlin was the picture of inconsistency in the second half of the regular season, yo-yoing between an 11.48 mark over 26 2/3 innings in August and a 1.69 mark over 26 2/3 innings in September. The Red Sox caught Tomlin during his best performance in August, 7 2/3 innings of three-run ball that ended, unsurprisingly, with his sixth loss of the season.

Buchholz, meanwhile, turned out his least productive season since 2008 with a 4.78 ERA and 0.5 fWAR in 2016. The right-hander split his season between the rotation and bullpen and devoted part of the year to tweaking some of his mechanics, which appeared to aid his late season comeback as Danny Salazar hit the disabled list in September. A possible red flag? He’s been much better on the road than at home, posting a 5.60 ERA and 4.85 K/9 over 72 1/3 innings in Fenway.

Offensively, the Indians appear to have the edge in this one. They’ve tagged Boston starters with 10 runs through the first two games of the ALDS, including four home runs by Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, and Lonnie Chisenhall. While the Red Sox were able to dig their heels in against Trevor Bauer in Game 1, putting up four runs to the Indians’ five, they couldn’t find their footing against Corey Kluber or the Indians’ bullpen in Game 2. Still, with Bauer reportedly expected to make a Game 4 start on short rest, this might be the Red Sox’ best chance of staging a comeback.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.