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Sunday, October 25, 2020

ALCS Preview: Tigers Aim For Second Straight Trip To World Series

Matchup: Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox

Television: All games on FOX

Season Series: Detroit wins 4-3

Schedule: 

Sat. October 12 8:07 p.m. at Boston FOX
Sun. October 13 8:15 p.m. at Boston FOX
Tues. October 15 4:07 p.m. at Detroit FOX
Wed. October 16 8:07 p.m. at Detroit FOX
Thu. October 17 8:07 p.m. at Detroit* FOX
Sat. October 19 4:37 p.m. at Boston* FOX
Sun. October 20 8:07 p.m. at Boston* FOX

*-If Necessary

The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox are two of baseball’s most storied franchises. Between the two teams, there is a combined 224 years of baseball history. Up to the 2013 American League Championship series, these two ball clubs have never met in the playoffs. That is 112 years of baseball with these two clubs never meeting. Considering the many seasons these two have played in the American League together, this is a very surprising stat. Each team is looking to move on to the World Series, the Red Sox for the first time since 2007 and the Tigers looking to return after a disappointing sweep last year. These two teams are powerhouses in the American League this season so let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other.

Starting Pitching

The Red Sox obviously have the bigger name pitchers than the Athletics did and those pitchers are also just as good if not better than the Athletics rotation. Oakland made the Tigers offense look anemic for the first few games of the ALDS and Boston’s rotation certainly has the ability to do that to any offense in baseball. Boston has had a chance to rest and set up their rotation the way they wanted so the challenge just got bigger. The Tigers rotation will not follow the same route as it did in the ALDS. Sanchez is set to start game one with Scherzer going in game two. The Tigers will have Scherzer and Verlander going twice each if necessary this series which gives them the advantage in the pitching department. Verlander looks to be back to his old ways which could spell trouble for Boston.

Advantage: Detroit

Relief Pitching

The Tigers have added left handed pitcher Phil Coke to the roster for the ALCS and dropped Luke Putkonen from the roster. This gives the Tigers a lefty specialist out of the bullpen though Coke still has not shown reliability this season. The main concern for the Tigers here is bridging the gap from the starter to the closer if need be. This is possibly the Tigers biggest weak spot, one that Boston could use to beat the Tigers. Boston on the other hand has a very strong bullpen that is able to bridge that gap to their shutdown closer. If the Tigers are to find themselves down late in the game, they easily could find themselves losing the crucial games.

Advantage: Boston

Offense

Through the ALDS, the Tigers offense was completely shutdown. The Tigers were held at one point to 20 consecutive scoreless innings in the ALDS which left many Tigers fans wondering if they would ever see the offense score again. They were finally able to break through and the best sign was Miguel Cabrera’s critical home run in game five. If Cabrera is able to start driving the ball more and hitting the gaps, the Tigers could keep up offensively. Boston has come into the playoffs swinging the bats as good as any other team in baseball. They were able to score 26 runs in only four games of the ALDS. Compare that to Detroit’s 17 runs in five games and it’s easy to see who is the more effective offensive team at this point. The Tigers pitching should be able to limit the amount of runs Boston scores so if the Tigers can get the bats going even more they could put up some big offensive numbers. Boston is still considered ahead of Detroit here though.

Advantage: Boston

Defense

The Red Sox are probably the most complete club left in the playoffs and the defense is one of the main reasons. The Tigers are going to trot out a still hobbled Miguel Cabrera at third base along with Jhonny Peralta in left field who has never had to play a fly ball off of the Green Monster. The Red Sox have the home field advantage and will use their ability to play defense in their ballpark to make this series even tougher for the Tigers. The Tigers weak points at third and left field could come to hurt them in the long run.

Advantage: Boston

Final Analysis

Even though the Red Sox have the advantagein a couple of categories against the Tigers, I don’t believe they are significant advantages. Outside of a 20-4 route, the Red Sox and Tigers match up very well against each other and are very similar teams. Both teams have the ability to score runs in bunches or win the close one, two, and three run games. For this being the first time these two teams have met in the playoffs, this series has the ability to become an instant classic and could easily go the distance.

Picks

BD- The Tigers had a poor offensive showing in the beginning of the ALDS but were able to turn up the bats towards the end. I believe this offense will carry over into the ALCS and the Tigers score more runs and also pull out a couple tight games. Cabrera is begining to show signs of his old self and Verlander has reminded us why many consider him to be the best pitcher on the planet. Combine Verlander and Scherzer for 4 of the 7 games as well as ERA leader Sanchez for another two, I believe the Tigers can win this series on pitching alone. It still will go the distance but the Tigers come out on top.

Tigers in 7

JD- Unlike the Tigers previous few ALCS series, this one should be lengthy. Detroit held a 4-3 edge in the season series against Boston, and I think Detroit will come out on top in the postseason too. The Tigers starting pitching is just too strong, and the bats are just starting to wake up. Winning Game 6 or 7 in Boston will be tough, the the Tigers have the veteran leadership to do it.

Tigers in 6

Let us know what you think!

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