Red Sox likely to face Tribe in ALDS

Boston two games back of Texas for home-field advantage

Red Sox likely to face Tribe in ALDS

NEW YORK -- After losing, 5-1, and being swept by the Yankees on Thursday night, it is now likely that the American League East champion Red Sox will face the AL Central champion Indians in the AL Division Series, which starts on Oct. 6 on TBS.

To face another opponent besides Cleveland, the Red Sox would have to sweep the Blue Jays at home this weekend and the Rangers would have to be swept in Texas by the last-place Tampa Bay Rays.

If that unlikely scenario occurred, Boston would play the winner of the AL Wild Card Game in the ALDS.

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However, it is still very much in question whether a Red Sox-Indians ALDS would start in Boston or Cleveland.

The Red Sox are 92-67, leading by just a half-game against the Indians (91-67), who were postponed against the Tigers on Thursday.

If Boston and Cleveland finish with the same record, the Red Sox would get home-field advantage by virtue of winning the head-to-head series, 4-2.

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The Sox and Rangers (94-65) tied their season series, 3-3, but Texas would win a tiebreaker by virtue of having a better winning percentage within the division. The team with the best record in the AL would have home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

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"It's important. I think anyone who looks at home-field advantage, it's pivotal, it's something that we're continuing to achieve or strive for," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "But we needed to get some guys off their feet tonight given what we've come through -- particularly the number of road games that we've played over the past six weeks. We go back home and we're looking forward to finishing out against Toronto."

A Red Sox-Indians series would have several enticing subplots. Indians manager Terry Francona guided the Red Sox to World Series championships in 2004 and '07, and is still very popular in Boston. Red Sox manager John Farrell pitched for the Indians from 1987-90, and again in '95. Farrell and Francona are close friends.

Mike Napoli helped win a World Series for the Red Sox in 2013. This season, he's a force in the middle of Cleveland's lineup.

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"Home field, it's always good for the playoffs," said Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. "Home-field advantage, you're playing in front of your fans, and that's something that every team looks forward to.

The Indians will make up Thursday's rainout on Monday in Detroit only if there are still postseason implications. The Tigers are also fighting for a Wild Card berth, which they currently trail by 1 1/2 games.

"The importance of winning and maintaining our daily approach is priority number one," said Farrell. "How that might affect how deep a starter goes in the upcoming games, it might be looked at a little bit closer, but still, we feel it's imperative to at least secure as much home-field advantage as we can."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.