In­di­ans ar­rive in Bos­ton with chance to sweep

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jimmy Golen

that al­ready has four homers in the se­ries. He will face Cleve­land right-han­der Josh Tom­lin (13-9, 4.40), a for­mer team­mate from An­gelina Ju­nior Col­lege.

“This is a pretty cool story,” Buch­holz said. “We talked about it the other day. He’s one of my good bud­dies . ... It’s a small world when it comes to that.”

Tom­lin said the two pitch­ers get to­gether in the off­sea­son and have been back to the school in Lufkin, Texas, to work out with their coach. When their teams play, they some­times hang out or go out to lunch.

This year, they’ve had more to talk about than just their school days: Each of them has strug­gled this sea­son and was bounced from his team’s ro­ta­tion. After go­ing 0-5 with an 11.48 ERA in Au­gust, Tom­lin made his next ap­pear­ance out of the bullpen and didn’t start again un­til Sept. 14.

“The idea was to give him maybe a lit­tle of a break,” In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “I think what he ac­tu­ally did was he dug in and tried to fig­ure out, ‘OK, what makes me a good pitcher and why?’ And I think he prob­a­bly got to it quicker than the rest of us.”

Buch­holz spent more time go­ing back and forth to the bullpen, with 21 starts and 16 relief ap­pear­ances. But he re­turned to the ro­ta­tion in Septem­ber and went 3-0, al­low­ing two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts.

“He’s had a resur­gence of his own right in­side the sea­son,” Red Sox man­ager John Far­rell said. “I don’t think any­one can fully ap­pre­ci­ate all that he’s been through this year. (He) needed a lit­tle bit of a breather from the ro­ta­tion, worked out some is­sues while go­ing to the bullpen and has re­turned and is pitch­ing some of the best base­ball, I think, in his ca­reer.”

The Red Sox had a meet­ing on Satur­day — play­ers and coaches — after ar­riv­ing at Fen­way, and Buch­holz said the team needed a re­minder of what brought it so much suc­cess this sea­son.

“We’re here be­cause of ev­ery­body and what they’ve done through­out this year,” he said. “We have a po­ten­tial cou­ple of MVP can­di­dates, po­ten­tial Cy Young can­di­date on this team. We’re a re­ally good ball­club and there’s no need to put added pres­sure or added stress on one game be­cause of what could hap­pen.”

Across the di­a­mond, the In­di­ans were loose — thanks to their two-game lead.

Fran­cona ar­rived in the me­dia in­ter­view room at the same time as Tom­lin and promptly re­ar­ranged the sched­ule to let his pitcher go first. He then asked him, “Are you get­ting a Texas-toEnglish trans­la­tor?”

When Tom­lin stuck around to watch his man­ager’s in­ter­view, Fran­cona said some­thing nice about the 31-year-old pitcher and then said, “I think I’m go­ing to throw up.”

Even with the jok­ing around, re­liever An­drew Miller said the team knows it still has work to do.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas,” he said. “We’re not cel­e­brat­ing at this point.”

Game 4 would be Mon­day night at Fen­way, if nec­es­sary, with Game 5 back in Cleve­land on Wed­nes­day.

Un­til then, Tom­lin and Buch­holz won’t be hav­ing any meals to­gether.

“Yeah, I’ll text him tonight,” Tom­lin said. “Not to­mor­row. But the next day after that? Yeah.”

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