I guess it was inevitable that the teams with the two best offenses in the major leagues would meet in the ALCS. Strangely enough, the Tigers and the Red Sox have never faced each other in the playoffs before in the history of baseball. Someone’s going to make a nice first impression.
DETROIT TIGERS – 93-69, American League Central Division champions
Hoo boy. The last intraleague matchup of the calendar year. And it’s the two top teams in the AL too. Will you be able to not feel tense? No, probably not, considering that the last three times the Red Sox made it to the ALCS, the series went seven games. So strap yourselves in. It’ll be one hell of a ride.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
1 – Austin Jackson – CF – .272/.337/.417
2 – Torii Hunter – RF – .304/.334/.465
3 – Miguel Cabrera – 3B – .348/.442/.636
4 – Prince Fielder – 1B – .279/.362/.457
5 – Victor Martinez – DH – .301/.355/.430
6 – Jhonny Peralta – LF – .303/.358/.457
7 – Omar Infante – 2B – .318/.345/.450
8 – Alex Avila – C – .227/.317/.376
9 – Jose Iglesias – SS – 320/.368/.397
Game 1: Anibal Sanchez vs. Jon Lester
Anibal Sanchez might be the the most underrated pitcher with a 9.99 K/9, which makes this matchup even more difficult than it seems. He’s also got the lowest HR/9 (0.45) of the qualified starters on this Tigers team, which owns a pretty damn good pitching staff. Jon Lester will kick off yet another postseason series, looking to build on the success of his start against the Rays in the ALDS.
Game 2: Max Scherzer vs. Clay Buchholz
The Cy Young frontrunner up against arguably the best pitcher on the staff. Scherzer had problems with the long ball last year, but a problem like that is correctable, and with that improvement came an amazing year. A 10.08 K/9 is the best mark on the Tigers. One thing to look out for, however: Scherzer still totes a 44.6% fly ball percentage, which could be very dangerous in Fenway. Buchholz, well, his goal should be not to allow three-run homers at all. GOT IT, BUCH?
Game 3: John Lackey vs. Justin Verlander
Back to Motown with this one, where the fly ball tendency of Verlander will be less of a factor in the much more spacious Comerica Park. Verlander wasn’t the best pitcher in the Detroit starting rotation this year, but he was still extremely effective, with a K/9 just a shade below 9 (8.95) and a sub-one HR/9. Lackey faces the problem of extreme results: if he gets grounders, he’ll have a good game. If not, his 1.24 HR/9 comes in to play, since hitters have been hammering pitches they can get up in the air.
Game 4: Jake Peavy vs. Doug Fister
Fister is good at keeping the ball on the ground with a 54.3% ground ball rate, which might not bode well for Boston’s hitters unless the BABIP gods are kind and show mercy on the Red Sox, since Fister walks less than two batters per nine innings as well. Peavy might struggle against Detroit’s sluggers with his 46% fly ball rate, even in Comerica, and his 24.2% line drive rate since he was traded to the Red Sox has been less than ideal.
Game 5: TBA
Game 6: TBA
Game 7: TBA
- Phil Coke: Probable for the ALCS (October 12th, left elbow inflammation)
- Bruce Rondon: Doubtful for the ALCS (October 12th, sore right elbow)
- Nothing new to report.
I don’t know if I can handle this stress, guys. I wasn’t so worried during the series against the Rays, but this is on a whole other level. Y’know what, I’m just gonna watch this highlight and feel better.