Last night we were reminded that the Red Sox may have the top record in the American League, but they don’t have a team that’s built to win a playoff series. Pitching wins championships, and the Tigers have two of the top horses in MLB: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. The Red Sox saw just what Scherzer can do last night, as Detroit’s number two pitcher improved his record to 11-0 after going seven strong innings, striking out six.
Stability in the pitching staff is the key ingredient to a championship team. The 2004 Red Sox could always count on Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling in a seven game series with a shortened rotation. The 2013 Red Sox are relying on Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Lester has been anything but reliable this year, and simply couldn’t be trusted to beat a pitcher like Verlander. Buchholz has had a great year, but his lack of durability is a real concern. Smart money on a head-to-head matchup with Scherzer would be on the Tigers’ hurler.
The 2013 Tigers are going to win the AL Central. It’s almost a guarantee because the rest of their division is so putrid. If the Red Sox win the Wild Card, they very likely could find themselves in the unenviable position of facing the Tigers in the first round. The Tigers are built much like those 2004 Red Sox who won it all. They’re lead by two of the most reliable pitchers in baseball. Their three and four hitters, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, are strikingly similar to the combination of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.
They’d be tough to beat, and right now the Red Sox aren’t good enough to beat them.