Since the wild-card era began, the Red Sox and Tigers have combined for 14 playoff appearances -- but this is the first time they will play each other in the postseason.
The teams both have potent offenses; Boston led the AL in runs and Detroit was second. They also ranked 1-2 in OBP, so you might expect these games to run even longer than usual as the hitters sit there and take, take, take.
The Tigers have perhaps the best hitter in the game (note, Mike Trout fans, not the best all-around player) in Miguel Cabrera, but Cabrera has been slowed by leg injuries. It had to make Tiger fans optimistic when Cabrera's homer helped them win Game 5 against the A's; it was Miggy's first home run in almost a month.
Detroit's pitching staff gets a slight edge due to their four starters; I'll definitely take Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister over John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront. Former Cub Ryan Dempster, a starter during the regular season, will be in the bullpen -- though he might not see much work, because Boston's bullpen, especially the late-inning tandem of Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara, has been otherworldly. Detroit has had to change closers a couple of times this year and though Joaquin Benoit has done all right, you saw in the division series how he can be a bit shaky at times.
The Tigers took the regular-season series four games to three, although the final regular-season game between the two teams, September 4 at Fenway Park, ended in a 20-4 win for Boston that included eight Red Sox home runs. You can bet the Tigers will do whatever they can to stop that from happening again.
This ought to be an evenly-matched series, but I like Detroit's pitching. Tigers in seven.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will look to take a 2-0 series lead in the NLCS after Carlos Beltran drove in the winning run in the 13th inning Friday night. Beltran also threw out Mark Ellis at the plate in the 10th inning on a play that looked like the runner had been sent by David Bell -- I couldn't believe the Dodgers tried to run on Beltran on a fly ball that shallow.
Today's NLCS game is on TBS at 3 p.m. CT. Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, Cal Ripken and Craig Sager.
Today's ALCS game is on Fox at 7 p.m. CT. Announcers: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews. Think of it this way: McCarver's broadcasting career has at most 14 more games to go... and then you never have to hear him again.
Here are today's pitching matchups.
|2013 - Clayton Kershaw||16-9||35||33||3||2||0||0||236.0||164||55||48||11||52||232||1.83||.92|
|2013 - Michael Wacha||4-1||15||9||0||0||0||1||64.2||52||20||20||5||19||65||2.78||1.10|
|2013 - Anibal Sanchez||14-8||29||29||1||1||0||0||182.0||156||56||52||9||54||202||2.57||1.15|
|2013 - Jon Lester||15-8||33||33||1||1||0||0||213.1||209||94||89||19||67||177||3.75||1.29|
This will serve as your one and only game thread for today's games. Enjoy, and discuss amongst yourselves.