LOS ANGELES, October 12, 2013 — The Boston Red Sox have shocked the baseball world by finishing tied with St. Louis for the best record in baseball with 97 wins in a rebuilding year. The Red Sox advanced to the ALCS after beating Tampa Bay, 3-1, in the ALDS.
The Detroit Tigers needed five games and a spectacular start by Justin Verlander to beat the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. Detroit has won the AL Central three years in a row now. This year, the Tigers had a regular season record of 93-69.
Lineup: Boston led the majors in runs scored with 853, while posting a team slash line of .277/.349/.446. The Red Sox offense was led by David Ortiz .309/.395/.564, Dustin Pedroia .301/.372/.415 and Jacoby Ellsbury .298/.355/.426. Detroit scored the second most runs in MLB with 796 runs during the regular season to go with a .283/.346/.434 slash line. The Tigers’ offense was led by Miguel Cabrera .348/.442/.636, Torii Hunter .304/.334/.465 and Prince Fielder .279/.362/.457.
Edge: Red Sox
Starting Pitching: The Boston Red Sox starters compiled a 3.84 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and 793 strikeouts in 984 innings pitched. The staff was led by Jon Lester 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 7.47 K/9, John Lackey 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 7.65 K/9 and Clay Buchholz 1.74 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 7.98 K/9. The starters for Detroit combined for a 3.44 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 981 strikeouts in 1023 innings pitched. Their staff was led by Max Scherzer 2.90 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP and 10.08 K/9, Anibal Sanchez 2.57 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 9.66 K/9 and Justin Verlander 3.46 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 8.95 K/9.
Bullpen: Boston’s bullpen put up a 3.70 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 464 strikeouts in 470 innings pitched. They were led by closer Koji Uehara 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and 12.23 K/9, Craig Breslow 1.81 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 4.98 K/9 and Junichi Tazawa 3.16 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 9.48 K/9. The Tigers’ bullpen compiled a 4.01 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP and 447 strikeouts in 439.2 innings. Detroit’s relievers were led by closer Joaquin Benoit 2.01 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and 9.81 K/9 and Drew Smyly 2.37 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and 9.59 K/9.
Edge: Red Sox
Defense: The Red Sox posted a .987 fielding percentage, allowed a .756 stolen base success rate, had a 36.28 range factor and a 6.258 zone rating. The Tigers defense also had a .987 fielding percentage, allowed a .815 stolen base percentage, had a 36.28 range factor and a 6.284 zone rating.
Edge: Tigers, slightly
Manager: John Farrell is in his third season as a manager, his first with the Red Sox. He has a career winning percentage of .516. This will be his first ALCS appearance as a manager. The Detroit Tigers have Jim Leyland at the helm. In his 22-year career as a manager, Leyland has won Manager of the Year three times and his teams have made the playoffs now eight times including three trips to the World Series and one World Series title. Jim Leyland’s career winning percentage as a manager is .506, in eight years with Detroit, he has a .540 winning percentage.
Projection: Tigers in six. The quality of Detroit’s 1-2-3 starting pitchers tips the scales in Detroit’s favor.
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