KANSAS CITY -- Baseball's best record won't belong to the Indians. The Tribe confirmed that fact with Saturday night's 4-3 loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The defeat of the Indians (95-66), combined with the Red Sox's win over the Twins, on the season's second-to-last day gave Boston (96-65) the American League's top seed and the choice in ALDS start dates that comes with it. What does that mean for the Indians?
It means a Thursday home start date for next week's ALDS against the Yankees, a postseason roster that will include 11 pitchers and 14 position players (as opposed to 10 and 15) and the need for a four-man rotation. "We were shooting to try to have the best record, so we could have our choice," manager Eric Wedge said. "It didn't work out, but our guys went after it. It just wasn't meant to be." The Indians were eager to get their choice because they felt they would have had a significant strategic advantage in starting the series on Wednesday. That eight-day option for the five-game series would have afforded the Tribe the luxury of starting dual-aces C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona twice on regular rest, if the series went the distance. Instead, the Indians will play Games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday at Jacobs Field, Game 3 on Oct. 7 in Yankee Stadium, Game 4 (if necessary) on Oct. 8 in New York and Game 5 (if necessary) on Oct. 10 in Cleveland.
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.|
In the wake of Saturday's loss, Wedge confirmed that the Indians' ALDS rotation will be, in order: Sabathia (19-7, 3.21 ERA), Carmona (19-8, 3.06), Jake Westbrook (6-9, 4.32) and Paul Byrd (15-8, 4.59). The Yankees are expected to counter with Chien-Ming Wang (19-7, 3.70), Andy Pettitte (15-9, 4.05) and Roger Clemens (6-6, 4.18), with the Game 4 nod going to either Mike Mussina (11-10, 5.15) or Wang. Start times for the ALDS games have not yet been announced. The Indians will hold preparatory workouts at Jacobs Field on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.