2013 ALCS Preview: Boston Red Sox vs Detroit Tigers

2013 ALCS Preview: Red Sox vs Tigers

10/12/13 in MLB   |   jakeryanbrown   |   28 respect

2013 ALCS Preview: Boston Red Sox vs Detroit Tigers
 
The Red Sox improbable season is far from over as they get set to take on the Tigers in the American League Championship Series.  Nobody would have predicted a Red Sox team that won just 69 games last season to be four wins away from the World Series.  On the other hand, most are not surprised the Tigers have made it to the ALCS with their strong starting pitching and scary middle of the lineup.  Let’s break down who has got the edge at each position in this series.
 
FIRST BASE
Mike Napoli vs Prince Fielder
 
Oct 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder throws to first base in the seventh inning in game four of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsThe edge goes to Prince Fielder at first base over Mike Napoli.  Fielder is a dangerous left-hand hitting bat in the middle of the order to supplement Miguel Cabrera.  He slugged 25 home runs and 106 RBI this season along with a .362 OBP.  Napoli shied away a lot of teams because of his injury concerns, but has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox with 23 home runs and 92 RBI.  While Napoli has been good, Fielder gets the edge at first base.
 
EDGE:
TIGERS
 
SECOND BASE
Dustin Pedroia vs Omar Infante
 
This one is too easy.  Dustin Pedroia continues to be the guy in the clubhouse that you want to build your team around.  He plays hard, lays it all out there, and continues to put up great numbers.  Omar Infante is a nice complimentary player and a good defender, but Pedroia gets the edge at second base.
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
THIRD BASE
Will Middlebrooks vs Miguel Cabrera
 
Miguel Cabrera is turning into the greatest hitter of the decade.  The numbers he put up in an MVP October 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a two-run home run during the fourth inning in game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sportsseason this year are absolutely absurd.  On the other side, Will Middlebrooks has returned from his triple-A stint and hit the ball well, but he’s no Miguel Cabrera.  The biggest question mark in this series though will be Cabrera’s health.  He has clearly been hobbling and it could have a huge effect on the Tigers lineup.  Nonetheless, Cabrera gets the edge at third base. 
 
EDGE:
TIGERS
 
SHORTSTOP
Stephen Drew/Xander Bogaerts vs Jose Iglesias
 
We finally get to see if the Tigers win the three-way deal between the Red Sox, White Sox, and Tigers.  This is a tough pick at shortstop.  Jose Iglesias has played well and defensively Iglesias gets the edge, but on offense the Red Sox get the edge.  Stephen Drew has done all the Red Sox have asked of him and been a pleasant surprise at the plate.  The key though is rookie Xander Bogearts getting to hit against left-handed pitching, where Drew hits below .200.  The combination of Drew and Bogaerts gives them the edge over Iglesias at shortstop.
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
LEFT FIELD
Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes vs Andy Dirks/Don Kelly
 
Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes are just two more reasons why the Red Sox have had so much success this season.  Nava has come out of nowhere to put up tremendous numbers this season in left field.  Gomes has come up with clutch hits, but his presence off the field really is what has this team’s chemistry better than any other team in baseball.  There’s not much of a comparison between Nava and Gomes and Andy Dirks and Don Kelly.  The Red Sox get a huge edge in left field. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
CENTER FIELD
Jacoby Ellsbury vs Austin Jackson
 
Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) celebrates after scoring a run during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game four of the American League divisional series at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsI hate to keep going with the Red Sox, but once again they get the edge at another position.  Jacoby Ellsbury has been terrific at the plate, in the field, and most importantly on the basepaths.  The impending free agent had 52 steals, while hitting .298 on the season.  He will be getting a ton of money in the offseason.  Austin Jackson is a solid young player, but doesn’t have the impact on his team that Ellsbury has.  The Red Sox get the edge in center field. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 


RIGHT FIELD
Shane Victorino vs Torii Hunter
 
Right field is a tough choice between two good veteran players.  Shane Victorino has been a godsend for the Red Sox this year after a couple years where he battled injuries.  He has played a pivotal role to the Red Sox 97-win season.  Torii Hunter has done the same for the Tigers.  At 38, Hunter hit .304 with 17 home runs and 84 RBI this season.  His bat, his defense, and his veteran leadership gives him the edge in right field over Victorino. 
 
EDGE:
TIGERS
 
DESIGNATED HITTER
David Ortiz vs Victor Martinez
 
Big Papi.  October baseball.  That’s all I need to say here.  David Ortiz gets the edge over Victor Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz pours champagne on him as he celebrates beating the Tampa Bay Rays of the American League divisional series at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated theTampa Bay Rays 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsMartinez, but the Red Sox can’t sleep on Martinez in the lineup.  He has complimented Fielder and Cabrera very well and he may get some pitches to hit this series.  With that being said, there’s nobody in Boston’s lineup that has the numbers that Ortiz has in the playoffs.  Expect him to get a big time hit at some point in this series. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
STARTING PITCHING
Jon Lester/Clay Buchholz/John Lackey/Jake Peavy vs Max Scherzer/Justin Verlander/Anibal Sanchez/Doug Fister
 
It doesn’t get much closer than this when you analyze the Red Sox and Tigers starting rotations.  The top of the rotation with Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer along with Justin Verlander is the best one-two punch in baseball.  Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister are not too shabby of a three-four as well.  With that being said, the Red Sox have the better all-around rotation and they are built for October.  Jon Lester has been there and done that, winning the World Series MVP in 2007.  Clay Buchholz was nearly unhittable this season and could have given Scherzer a run for his money if he stayed healthy.  John Lackey has the experience as well in October with the Angels where he won a World Series as well.  Jake Peavy has been a pivotal part of the Red Sox success since being acquired at the trade deadline.  It’s essentially a flip of a coin, but the Red Sox rotation gets the slight edge in the rotation.
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
BULLPEN
 
Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara (left) celebrates with catcher David Ross (right) after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in game four of the American League divisional series at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsWhat Koji Uehera has done this season is hard to put into a short couple of sentences.  Since taking over as closer, Uehera has been the best in baseball.  He put up a microscopic 1.09 ERA to go along with 21 saves and 101 strikeouts.  Not only has Uehera been terrific, but Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow have also made the bridge from the starters to the bullpen the best in the league.  It’s nearly impossble to compare to what the Red Sox bullpen has done this season.  Joaquin Benoit and Al Alburquerque have been pretty good for the Tigers this season, but their bullpen cannot be trusted.  Their starters will need to go deep into games for them to have a chance in this series.  The Red Sox bullpen gets the edge here.
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
PREDICTION:
RED SOX IN 7
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10/14/13   |   SusanVette   |   9152 respect

Tigers to take this series in 7. GO TIGERS!

10/12/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Tonight lots of K's ....