One of the stories of the year was the performance of Max Scherzer for the Detroit Tigers. He won his first 13 decisions and didn’t suffer his first loss until July 13th. He finished the year 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and had two wins in the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics.
What people might forget is that a similar story was starting to develop in Boston if not for injury. Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox won his first 11 decisions and didn’t get his first loss until September 21. He finished the season 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA, but his numbers are partially skewed because he missed over two months of the season with injury.
Still, two of the best pitchers of 2013 are scheduled to square off against one another in Game 2 of the ALCS and because of this matchup, Buchholz will have to be the difference-maker in the series for the Red Sox to advance.
Buchholz’s first start of the postseason against the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t bad: six innings, three earned and a no-decision. But he will need to be at the top of his game against Scherzer. He has made eight career starts against the Tigers, but none this year, going 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA.
With these two pitchers going in Game 2, it is more than likely that they will face off again in Game 6 if the series goes that far. Having to face Scherzer twice in a seven game series is a tall order but if anyone can do it, it’s Buchholz. And he is going to have to get it done and show that his dominance was a true story of 2013 if the Red Sox are going to make the World Series.