The Boston Red Sox came into the 2013 season with relatively low expectations with a new manager and the ridding of a handful of offensive weapons. Nobody would have predicted that this team would be heading to the ALCS at the start of the season and there are still some people who can barely believe it.
On the other side of the diamond, the Detroit Tigers overcame a 2-1 deficit in the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics to make their third straight ALCS appearance. Detroit is looking like somewhat of a fixture in the playoffs recently and it could be favored by many to take this series although it is the underdog on paper.
Offensively, the Red Sox had one of the best outputs in the regular season, ranking first in runs and on-base percentage while ranking second in batting average. David Ortiz led the team in seemingly every offensive category during the regular season and is third on the team in batting average with a .385 mark during the playoffs. Raising their batting average as a team in the postseason to a .286 mark is impressive, but the power-outage is something the Sox aren’t used to.
The Tigers had the best batting average in baseball in the regular season at .283 and ranked second in just about every offensive category that the Red Sox ranked first in. Miguel Cabrera has been hampered with nagging injuries that have led to a mere .250 average with one homer and three RBI. It’s tough to see a guy struggle so much due to injuries, but the batting title winner will be motivated to send his team to the World Series again. Detroit, unlike Boston, is struggling mightily in the playoffs thus far on offense, batting just .235 with just 15 runs in five games.
When it comes to pitching, the Tigers have the slight edge. Justin Verlander has been unstoppable recently — in fact, he hasn’t allowed a run since Sept. 18. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Game 5 of the ALDS and allowed no runs in 15 innings of work in the round. Max Scherzer was also solid in the series, allowing three earned runs in nine innings and accounted for two wins — including one from the bullpen where he pitched himself out of a bases loaded, no outs situation. However, the Red Sox do have Clay Buchholz who had an ERA under two in the regular season in limited time, but has already given up three runs in his first start in the ALDS.
PREDICTION: Tigers beat Red Sox in six, 4-2
Game 1: Tigers at Red Sox, 8 p.m. EST, Saturday, Oct. 12, FOX
Game 2: Tigers at Red Sox, 8 p.m. EST, Sunday, Oct. 13, FOX
Game 3: Red Sox at Tigers, 4 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Oct. 15, FOX
Game 4: Red Sox at Tigers, 8 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Oct. 16, FOX
Game 5*: Red Sox at Tigers, 8 p.m. EST, Thursday, Oct. 17, FOX
Game 6*: Tigers at Red Sox, 4:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, Oct. 19, FOX
Game 7*: Tigers at Red Sox, 8 p.m. EST, Sunday, Oct. 20, FOX