October 12, 2013

Red Sox-Tigers at a Glance

(Continued from page 1)

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester, who won the opener of the Boston-Tampa Bay series, will be on the mound Saturday when the Red Sox host the Tigers.

The Associated Press

David Ortiz, Jose Molina
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Designated hitter David Ortiz has been one of Boston's postseason performers, batting .385 with 2 homers, 3 RBI and 5 walks in the four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Associated Press

Sanchez did not face the Red Sox this season. Ortiz, though, is 3 for 3 with two homers against the AL's ERA leader. Big Papi has three homers in 15 at-bats against Scherzer, and two against Verlander.

Hunter (.433), Cabrera (.526) and Martinez (.429) all have had success against Lester. The trio have a combined for nine extra-base hits and 10 RBI. Peralta has two homers and five RBIs. Even though the Tigers lost twice to Lester this year, they hit .321 against him -- the highest average by any team the lefty faced more than once this season.

Other than Peralta (seven RBI in 17 at-bats), Buchholz has shut down the Tigers' big bats.

BIG PICTURE

TIGERS: Detroit (93-69) won the AL Central by one game over Cleveland, but that slim margin was deceiving. The Tigers were in control from mid-August on. After clinching the division, Detroit lost its final three regular-season games at lowly Miami, totaling only three runs. Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter against the Tigers in the finale. But they bounced back quickly, beating the AL West champion Athletics in the division series for the second consecutive year behind another Game 5 gem from Verlander in Oakland.

Tigers pitchers set a major league record with 1,428 strikeouts this season.

Scherzer was baseball's lone 20-game winner, and the Tigers have the same excellent depth in their rotation as they did when they won the pennant last year.

RED SOX: Boston (97-65) returned to the postseason for the first time since 2009 after one of the most tumultuous periods in franchise history.

The Red Sox finished with the best record in the AL, earning home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The AL's victory in the All-Star game gives the American League champion the extra home game in the World Series.

The Red Sox became the second AL team in the three-division era to go from worst to first. Then they defeated the wild-card Rays 3-1 in the division series, winning both home games.

This is Boston's first AL East title since 2007 and just the second since 1995.

Ortiz is the only player remaining from the 2004 World Series title team. Pedroia, Lester and Ellsbury were also on the 2007 champions.

The Red Sox never lost more than three games in a row this season, the first major league team to do that since the 2005 Cardinals. Boston has dropped three straight only twice since May.

The Red Sox led the majors with 853 runs. They were successful on 86.6 percent of stolen base attempts, the best in AL history since baseball started keeping track of caught stealings in the 1920s. Boston was successful on its final 39 tries during the regular season and 6 of 7 in the ALDS.

Former Tigers OF Quintin Berry provides a spark off the bench.

This is the fourth time OF Jonny Gomes has been a part of a big turnaround. The 2008 Rays won 31 more games than the year before; the 2010 Reds won 13 more, the 2012 Athletics won 20 more and this year's Red Sox won 28 more than the previous season. 

-- The Associated Press

 

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