Red Sox-Tigers Preview
Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers
- The Tigers tied the American League Championship at 2-2 with a 7-3 win at Comerica Park on Wednesday. Detroit's seven runs in Game 4 were one more than it had scored in the first three games of this series combined (6).
- In LCS history, when the series is tied 2-2, the team winning Game 5 has gone on to take the series 21 out of 24 times. The last time the ALCS was tied 2-2 was in 2003 (Yankees-Red Sox; New York won Game 5 and went on to win the series in seven games).
- The Red Sox lost Game 4 despite recording 12 hits to the Tigers' nine. It was the first time the Red Sox have lost a postseason game despite outhitting an opponent since Game 3 of the 2007 ALCS when they dropped a 4-2 decision to Cleveland despite outhitting the Indians 7-6.
- The Tigers' starting pitchers have a combined 1.00 (3/27.0) ERA through the first four games of the 2013 ALCS. That is on pace to be the fourth-lowest ERA in any LCS by a group of starting pitchers; the MLB record was set by Detroit in the 2012 ALCS (0.66).
- Jon Lester was the hard-luck loser in Game 1 of this ALCS despite holding Detroit to just one run in 6.1 innings of work. Lester is 2-2 with a 1.88 (6/28.2) ERA and .187 (20/107) opponent average in four career postseason road starts, striking out 27 in 28.2 IP. That 1.88 road ERA ranks sixth all-time among pitchers with at least four postseason road starts.
- In Game 1, Anibal Sanchez became the first pitcher in postseason history to throw at least six innings and be pulled from the contest with a no-hitter intact. He allowed no hits and struck out 12 Boston batters in his 6.0 innings of work, but was wild, walking six, and was removed after throwing 116 pitches.
- After going just 1-for-10 with four strikeouts in the first three games of this series, Jacoby Ellsbury had a four-hit performance in Game 4. It was the Boston outfielder's third 3+ hit game this postseason and the fifth of his playoff career.
- Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 with two RBI in Game 4 Wednesday after being moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Tigers' batting order. It was the first time in his postseason career Cabrera had ever hit above the No. 3 slot in the order. In fact, Cabrera had hit in the No. 2 spot in just two regular-season games over the course of his career, both times coming in the 2004 season.
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By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Each of the Detroit Tigers' starting pitchers has contributed a solid performance through the first four games of the AL championship series, but Anibal Sanchez was unhittable - literally - in Game 1.
After manager Jim Leyland's lineup adjustment helped the Tigers even their series with the Boston Red Sox at two games apiece, Sanchez opposes Jon Lester in crucial Game 5 on Thursday night at Comerica Park.
Doug Fister was the latest Detroit starter to slow Boston's lineup, giving up one run and striking out seven in six innings of a 7-3 win in Game 4 on Wednesday.
The Tigers' starting pitching has allowed three runs while striking out 42 in 27 innings in the series. The Red Sox had 12 hits in Game 4 as Jacoby Ellsbury went 4 for 5 with an RBI triple, but they finished 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position.
"The one thing when we've been in stretches like this, we continually do a very good job of creating opportunities," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We did that (Wednesday). We haven't done it so much in the first three games. But that's a tip of the hat to the pitching that we've been facing."
After falling 1-0 in Game 3, Leyland dropped leadoff hitter Austin Jackson to eighth in the batting order for Game 4 and moved most everyone up one spot. Torii Hunter led off and had a two-run double, Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 4 with two RBIs batting second, and Jackson went 2 for 2, walked twice and drove in a pair of runs.
The center fielder entered the contest hitting .091 in the playoffs.
"I think it just helped me relax," Jackson said. "That was the goal. To get me to relax a little, be patient get a good pitch and let the rest take care of itself."
Hunter believes the change sparked an offense that scored six run in the previous three games combined.
"That was pretty good. (Leyland) switched things up, kinda shake it up a little bit," Hunter said. "It gave us a different mindset. Miggy hitting second, me leading off. It gave us a different mindset to make things happen."
Detroit will look to provide more support than it did for Sanchez in a 1-0 victory in Game 1. Sanchez (1-1, 4.35 ERA) pitched six innings of no-hit ball and struck out 12 while earning the win, and the Red Sox didn't get their first hit until one out in the bottom of the ninth.
David Ortiz, who hit a tying grand slam in Boston's Game 2 victory, was 3 for 3 with two homers in his career off Sanchez before going 0 for 3 against him in Game 1.
"My pitches were moving really good that day," Sanchez said. "I was ahead in some counts, that helped me striking them out. That was the key. That helped me that day."
The right-hander also was erratic at times and walked six, becoming the first starting pitcher to record 12 strikeouts and six walks in a playoff game since Walter Johnson did so in 12 innings for the Washington Senators against the New York Giants in Game 1 of the 1924 World Series.
"His stuff, at times, is probably some of the nastiest stuff we have on the team," catcher Alex Avila said. "He was erratic, but he was still able to make big pitches. That's what makes him so good - he's very unpredictable. He throws stuff in counts a hitter wouldn't normally see, just to keep them off balance."
Lester (1-1, 1.93) was pretty sharp himself in that contest, giving up one run and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. The only run he allowed came off a bloop single by Jhonny Peralta in the sixth.
"These guys are smart hitters, they know how I've gotten them out in the past and they know how they've gotten hits in the past," Lester said. "You have to take somewhere in the middle and adjust off that."
Cabrera is 11 for 21 with a homer, two doubles and six walks in his career off Lester, including the postseason.
Updated October 17, 2013