BOSTON – John Farrell announced a switch in his rotation for the American League Championship Series, moving Clay Buchholz up to Game 2 and John Lackey back to Game 3.

In the ALDS against Tampa Bay, Lackey started Game 2 and Buchholz pitched Game 3.

In explaining the move, Farrell seemed to go out of his way to point out one pitcher was not better than another.

“We felt like Clay falling in behind Jon (Lester) gives us a contrast in style. And that would be the case with John Lackey as well.

“I thought Clay threw the ball well in his start down in Tampa. That’s not to say John Lackey’s outing here was less than.”

What Farrell won’t say is what the numbers prove out: Buchholz, with his 1.74 ERA this year, is simply the better pitcher. Lackey was not as good, but good enough (3.52).

When Lackey was chosen to pitch Game 2 at Fenway against the Rays, his better performance at home this year was cited; while Buchholz usually pitches well in the Rays’ dome.

But Lackey’s career numbers at Comerica Park in Detroit (4-1, 3.83) work well enough.

Farrell obviously likes the idea of going with his two top arms right away.

“We just feel with the alignment that we have, it gives us the best opportunity to hopefully take control of the series,” Farrell said.

Jake Peavy will pitch Game 4, as expected.

DETROIT’S ROTATION is also set. Anibal Sanchez will be followed by Max Scherzer on Sunday, then Justin Verlander and Doug Fister back in Detroit.

Verlander would likely have been the choice for Game 1 had he not been needed for Game 5 in Oakland on Thursday.

THE TIGERS FLEW out late Thursday night after their Game 5 win in Oakland. They arrived in Boston at 9 a.m. Friday.

“It was a little rough,” Manager Jim Leyland said. “But probably the best long flight we’ve ever had, obviously for the right reasons.”

When Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was asked if it was any consolation that the Tigers had to play a late game Thursday on the other coast, he laughed.

“I don’t think it’s any consolation playing the Tigers,” Pedroia said.

JOSE IGLESIAS will start at shortstop Saturday after being benched on Thursday. Iglesias, the former Sea Dogs and Red Sox player, was 1 for 12 in the ALDS, while Jhonny Peralta was 5 for 12.

XANDER BOGAERTS could see some playing time in this series.

When Farrell was asked about his third baseman for Games 1 and 2, he surprisingly did not commit to Will Middlebrooks for the series.

“It will be Middlebrooks (Saturday),” Farrell said. “And then based on some match-ups, we’ve got some things that we’re looking at in a couple of different spots.”

VICTOR MARTINEZ, the Tigers’ designated hitter, played 1½ seasons for the Red Sox in 2009 and 2010.

“It was a dream come true to play baseball here,” he said. “For me it was a big, big honor to put that uniform on and play for them.”

Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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