The Red Sox chose Division Series B, which means they will open their Division Series against the Angels on Wednesday, have an off-day on Thursday and play Game 2 on Friday.
The Red Sox-Angels series will be played over an eight-day span, as compared to the seven days the Yankees-Indians would have to play their series if it goes to the five-game limit.
Less than an hour after the Red Sox downed the Twins, 6-4, the Royals completed a 4-3 win over the Indians. Going into Sunday's final day of the regular season, the Red Sox are 96-65 and the Indians are 95-66. Therefore, the best the Indians can do is tie Boston, but the Red Sox won the season series, 5-2, giving them the edge in the tiebreaker.
The eight-day schedule was favorable to the Red Sox because they now have the option of going with a three-man rotation in which Game 1 starter Josh Beckett and likely Game 2 starter Curt Schilling can come back and pitch Games 4 and 5 on the standard four days of rest. Daisuke Matsuzaka is the likely candidate to start Game 3 for the Red Sox.
"Today was important," said Tim Wakefield, who earned the win for the Red Sox. "We're playing for home-field advantage here. And I treated it as special as it would've been if we had to clinch it tonight. So my concentration and stuff was there. I'm just glad that we got it done to rest some guys that need some rest for the next couple of days and get ready for the postseason."
American League Division Series schedule
|Wed., Oct. 3||6:30 p.m.||Fenway Park||TBS|
|Fri., Oct. 5||8:30 p.m.||Fenway Park||TBS|
|Sun. Oct. 7||3 p.m.||Angel Stadium||TBS|
|*Mon. Oct. 8||9:30 p.m.||Angel Stadium||TBS|
|*Wed. Oct. 10||8:30 p.m.||Fenway Park||TBS|
|Thu., Oct. 4||6:30 p.m.||Jacobs Field||TBS|
|Fri., Oct. 5||5 p.m.||Jacobs Field||TBS|
|Sun. Oct. 7||6:30 p.m.||Yankee Stadium||TBS|
|*Mon. Oct. 8||6 p.m.||Yankee Stadium||TBS|
|*Wed. Oct. 10||5 p.m.||Jacobs Field||TBS|
|* If necessary. All times ET.|
This is the first time Major League Baseball gave the team with the best record in the American League a chance to pick which schedule it wanted to play. The National League team with the best record will have that opportunity next year.
The Red Sox and Angels will resume their series with Game 3 in Anaheim on Oct. 7 and Game 4 (if necessary) the following day. A winner-take-all Game 5 would be on Oct. 10 at Fenway Park.
Not only do the Red Sox now have home field in the first two rounds of postseason, but the AL's win at the All-Star Game also would provide the Sox with the opportunity to open the World Series at Fenway Park if they get that far.
"I think it's always important," said Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew. "We've got great fans here. Any time you're playing at home, it's a little more comfortable to be around your family. It's nice to have that home-field advantage."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less