The first step for the Boston Red Sox in David Ortizs final postseason begins with a familiar foe in Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed Big Papi to his first two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Who has the edge when the Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup starts in Cleveland on Thursday night??Go inside the numbers and matchups that will decide Game 1, and then go to the bottom of the page and vote for which team will win.Inside the pitching matchupWhen Porcello is on the mound: ?The Red Sox acquired Porcello from the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes after the 2014 season, signed him to an $82.5 million extension ... and he promptly tanked in 2015, going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA. Its been a different story in 2016; hes perhaps the Cy Young favorite after going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA in a career-high 223 innings.What led to the improvement? Porcellos strikeout rate is only 1 percent higher than last year, and while he did cut his walk rate to a career low, an ESPN stat we monitor called hard-hit average says Porcello basically gave up the same percentage of hard-hit balls: 15.5 percent in 2016 versus 14.4 percent in 2015. His batting average on balls in play, however, was dramatically lower, dropping from .333 to .269. He stranded more runners.Porcello is known for his two-seam sinker, and Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis has said Porcello got too reliant on his four-seam fastball but went back more to his two-seamer. ESPN data says he cut his fastball percentage from 47.6 percent last year to 21.1 percent and increased his sinker rate from 18.5 to 40.6 percent. Porcello also said he was getting off-balance over the rubber last year, which led to rushing his lower half and creating command issues.Anyway, his sinker isnt conventional, because he throws it in the middle of the strike zone, not down at the knees or below, relying more on movement than location. Thats one reason hes not an extreme ground-ball pitcher -- hes about league average in that regard. In fact, he had the lowest ground-ball rate of his career at 44 percent. Beyond that, what makes him tough is that he also has a changeup, curveball and slider and throws them all from 12-14 percent of the time. His highest strikeout rate with any pitch actually came on his four-seamer, so hell often pitch backward, starting off with the sinker or breaking balls and then climbing the ladder with the fastball. --?David SchoenfieldWhen Bauer is on the mound: Corey Kluber strained a groin in his final start, so the Indians will give Bauer the ball in the opener, with Kluber getting an extra day of rest and starting Game 2. Bauer actually began the season in the Indians bullpen and didnt start until April 30, after Carlos Carrasco got injured for the first time. Bauer had a nice 10-start stretch through early July when he posted a 2.42 ERA, but he wasnt able to maintain that level and finished with a 4.26 ERA, including 6.39 in September.Bauers issue has always been command. He led the AL in walks in 2015 and ranked seventh this year. Whats at odds here is that Bauer does throw a high percentage of pitches in the strike zone: Porcello was first in this area among qualified starters, but Bauer ranked 19th. Even when he gets to three balls, he ranks 13th in zone rate. The problem is that he gets to too many three-ball counts. He also has the second-highest walk rate when he has two strikes.Bauer pitches off a fastball that averages 93.2 mph, preferring to work middle-away to both lefties and righties. He works up in the zone with the fastball, which has led to a .447 slugging percentage allowed on the pitch. He adds a curveball, cutter and changeup, with the curveball his go-to wipeout pitch -- batters hit .134/.145/.221 with a 45 percent strikeout rate against it. If Bauer can get to curveball counts, he can be tough. If not, it usually means hes walking batters and theyre sitting on his fastball. -- SchoenfieldPlayer in the spotlightDavid Ortiz. Can he top his regular season? Ortiz wasnt quite as dominant away from Fenway, but he still hit .295/.372/.556 on the road. He also slugged .665 against right-handed pitchers, and in six games against the Indians he hit .458 with four home runs. Small sample size: Hes 4-for-5 off Bauer with two doubles and a home run. ?-- David SchoenfieldWhat will decide Thursday nights gameCan the Indians jump on the first pitch? Porcello threw pitches in the strike zone on 57.9 percent of his first pitches, the 9th-highest rate in the majors. Opponents had a .384 BA in at-bats ending with the first pitch, which was 44 points above league average among qualified pitchers. The Indians hit 40 HR on the first pitch, tied for 5th most in MLB. ? --?ESPN Stats & InfoChoosing sides: Who will win?What, you think now is a good time to pick against Rick Porcello? Bostons unexpected Cy Young candidate might lose in the postseason, but it wont be Thursday night. The vaunted Red Sox offense will make certain of it against Trevor Bauer, who began the season in the bullpen. The Sox got to Bauer for four runs on eight hits in five innings earlier this season. That would be more than enough support for Porcello. -- Scott LauberThe Red Sox are going to swipe home field in Game 1. Going against history, Sox starter Rick Porcello will have his way with Indians slugger Carlos Santana. Santana has blistered Porcello in the past with 12 hits in 41 at-bats (.293), including three homers. However, Porcello will continue his bounce-back, maybe Cy Young-worthy year by pitching Boston to an opening-game victory, and it will start by controlling the Tribes power-hitting leadoff man, Santana. ?-- Andrew MarchandWhere the series standsId argue that Game 1 is more important for the Red Sox, since you might give the pitching edge to the Indians in Game 2, assuming Kluber is healthy and given David Prices struggles in the postseason in his career. The Red Sox averaged 4.95 runs on the road versus 5.89 at home, and keep in mind that Sox closer Craig Kimbrel struggled with walks his final few regular-season appearances. ?--?Schoenfield Zach LaVine Jersey . Robinson finished with 17 points, all but two in the second half, and Lawson had 14 after halftime and finished with a game-high 11 assists as the Nuggets handed Dallas its first home loss in eight games this season. J.J. Hickson led Denver with 22, and Kenneth Faried added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Omer Asik Jersey . Only three players drafted by NHL clubs were included on the Czech selection camp roster on Wednesday. Those players were Dallas Stars 2012 first-rounder Radek Faksa, Winnipeg Jets 2013 fourth-rounder Jan Kostalek and Phoenix Coyotes 2012 seventh-rounder Marek Langhamer. http://www.bullsofficialsshop.com/kids-wendell-carter-jr-bulls-jersey/ . After Mondays hard-fought loss, the wait seemed longer than usual. Getting set to go their separate ways for a short Christmas break, the Raptors coach credited his team for their effort on a seemingly impossible three-game road trip, urging them to build on that success when they get back to work at the end of the week. Michael Jordan Jersey . Barcelona also left injured defenders Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba out of its squad for the trip to Glasgow. That means that Marc Bartra will probably start again in the centre of the defence alongside Gerard Pique. Toni Kukoc Jersey .com) - The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks both take aim at their first wins of the season on Saturday, as the Canucks open their home slate at Rogers Arena. AUBURN, Ala. -- Giving up football was tempting for Josh Holsey, who once again faced the long road back from knee surgery.But those are not the values the cornerback for No. 8 Auburn was taught growing up. Instead, Holsey worked his way back from his second serious knee injury and is having the best season of his career, including key interceptions in the past two games going into Saturdays visit to Georgia in his home state.It feels good, especially after what Ive been through, Holsey said. Ive been through a lot.It didnt start with that non-contact torn ACL during a Thursday practice before the 2013 Texas A&M game. Certainly not with a similar injury early last season.The fifth-year senior learned the value of perseverance long before that from his father, Johnathan. Johnathan Holsey, who still serves in the Army, had to have his left leg amputated below the knee after an improvised explosive device blew up near is convoy on Nov. 10, 2004.He has come back to run eight of the last nine Army Ten-Milers and a half marathon. Now, father and mother Marilyn Davis can look with pride on how their son handled his own trials and came back a better player than ever.I always told him giving up wasnt an option, said Johnathan Holsey, who is stationed at Fort Detrick in Maryland. But it had to be something he wanted, he had to go after it. I think that was a good thing. He never really gave up. He still believed he had the willpower to do and do even better than hed ever done.Holseys last-minute interception in Auburn territory helped preserve a 23-16 win over Vanderbilt. A week earlier, his fourth-quarter pick set up the final touchdown in a 40-29 win over Mississippi .Holsey leads the Southeastern Conference with 10 pass breakups, matcching his total the past three-plus seasons.dddddddddddd He has three interceptions after recording just one before this season.A six-game starter as a freshman, Holseys first big knee injury came right before facing the Aggies and quarterback Johnny Manziel.I had a really big role that week, Holsey said. Things happen. You cant really dwell on it too much. I was sad and down a lot but I bounced back from it.He started seven games the following season but was injured again in the second game in 2015, receiving a medical redshirt. This time, the doubts crept in about whether he wanted to go through the process of returning to the field again. Coach Gus Malzahn offered Holsey a chance to return on scholarship and finish his degree if he decided to give up football.It was a tough decision for me, Holsey said. At one point, I did say I didnt want to play any more. I didnt know how to respond to the second knee injury at one point. To come back was the best decision for me and everybody around me.Then-Auburn secondary coach Travaris Robinson told him he should come back if I felt like I had anything left in the tank.Holsey clearly had plenty left in the tank.Josh has had his best year, I believe, Malzahn said. From the stability, leadership, hes a quarterback on the back end. He has the ability to make a play when a team needs it. Youve seen it two weeks in a row during the fourth quarter of games that have yet to be decided, hes made the play of the game.That says a lot about him. Hes playing at a very high level.---More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 . 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