The American League Division Series between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians begins Thursday in Cleveland. The two division winners finished the season one win apart, which should make for a close, intense series between two of baseball’s best.

Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of their ALDS matchup:


The Indians haven’t had the most fortunate luck behind the dish this season, as the threesome of Yan Gomes, Roberto Perez, and Chris Gimenez have combined to hit just .184, although they were partially responsible for the team’s 3.84 ERA, good for second-best in the AL. Boston has the edge here, however, with Sandy Leon and his .845 OPS accompanied by a team ERA of 4.00. Leon also throws out a higher percentage of baserunners (59 percent) than Cleveland’s backstops (38 percent). Edge: Red Sox


Mike Napoli is arguably one of the best finds of the season for Cleveland after the 34-year-old hit 34 home runs and 101 RBIs for $7 million, but he couldn’t outdo the production or defense of Boston’s Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez not only learned a new position – and played it well (.996 FPCT) – but he also led AL first baseman in RBIs (111), while slugging .505 to Napoli’s .465. Edge: Red Sox


Another close call for the two division winners comes at second base, where the Central champs received a fantastic season from Jason Kipnis, who turned in a career high 23 home runs, with an .811 OPS. Dustin Pedroia was next level, however, hitting .318 – his highest mark since his 2008 AL MVP season – and was better defensively, as evidenced by his 12 defensive runs saved, as opposed to Kipnis’ four. Edge: Red Sox


It’s uncertain who the Red Sox will deploy at the hot corner, with Travis Shaw, Aaron Hill, and Brock Holt at their disposal, but no matter who it is, Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez will be superior. Ramirez is arguably the Indians’ biggest surprise of the season – and maybe even the AL – by supplying career highs in home runs (11), RBIs (76), doubles (46), and stolen bases (22). He also struck out just 62 times in 618 plate appearances. Edge: Indians


On paper, the Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts may have the edge over Francisco Lindor at shortstop, thanks to an .802 OPS, 192 hits, and 291 total bases, but he did most of his damage in the first half, whereas Lindor enters the postseason after a torrid summer where he hit .296/.352/.404 after the All-Star break. He did regress in September, but Bogaerts’ 41 strikeouts between August and September should be a concern for the Red Sox. Edge: Indians


Although Tyler Naquin’s rise has been a nice story in Cleveland with the youngster making a case for the AL Rookie of the Year award, there’s no matching the Red Sox dance troupe of an outfield consisting of AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts, the game-changing defense of Jackie Bradley Jr., and up-and-coming rookie Andrew Benintendi. Add in Chris Young, who mashes left-handed pitching, and the Red Sox have quite the advantage in this category. Edge: Red Sox


Carlos Santana may have been one of the Indians biggest run producers – his 87 RBIs were second on the team – but David Ortiz was on another planet during the final season of his historic career. Big Papi’s 1.021 OPS and 48 doubles were the highest in baseball, as he continued to strike fear into opposing pitchers after what’s been arguably the best finale to a career in the game’s history. He also owns a .295/.409/.553 postseason slash line. Edge: Red Sox


The Red Sox haven’t announced their ALDS roster yet, but their bench should be stronger than what the Indians have to offer. The Red Sox versatile duo of Holt and Young look like upgrades over the Indians’ combination of Michael Martinez – who Boston waived earlier this season – and the two catchers who will be included. Brandon Guyer is dangerous for Cleveland, but Boston still has an advantage here. Edge: Red Sox


When the season began, the Indians’ rotation was quite possibly one of the best baseball had seen in the new millennium, and they lived up to the hype, posting one of the AL’s best rotation ERAs. Unfortunately, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco won’t be available for the ALDS because of injuries, and Rick Porcello and David Price are as dominating a pair as one team can send to a mound. Despite the accolades of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Josh Tomlin, they may not be enough to win the series. Edge: Red Sox


The Red Sox bullpen is clearly better than they were a season ago, thanks to the additions of shut-down closer Craig Kimbrel, as well solid efforts from Koji Uehara, Brad Ziegler, et al. But the Indians bullpen was spectacular even before they acquired Andrew Miller, who’s posted a ridiculous 1.55 ERA and 0.55 WHIP since coming over from the New York Yankees. If the Indians lead in the later innings, they should be in good shape. Edge: Indians