Down 2-1, Tigers Face “Must Win” in Game 4

With the Sox leading the ALCS series 2 games to 1, Game Four [8 ET, FOX] becomes a customary “must win” game for the Tigers and manager Jim Leyland will send his #5 starter Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67) against Sox #4 starter Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17).

jim-leylandThus far, the series has been remarkable: the two most productive offensive teams in the AL have been stymied by each other’s pitchers.  All 3 games have been decided by a single run [6-5, 1-0, 1-0) with the Sox scoring just 7 runs and the Tigers only 6 runs.

The Tigers are averaging 2.00 runs per game in the ALCS, well below their season average of 4.91, while the Sox are averaging 2.33 runs per game, well below their season average of 5.27.

"This series has been marked by very good pitching on both sides," Boston manager John Farrell said.

The teams are so well-matched that the slightest mistake can turn a game; Verlander missed his location on one pitch; it was on a full-count; his 96-mph fastball caught too much of the hitting zone and Napoli took full advantage and put the barrel right on the ball in that pivotal seventh inning.

This chart demonstrates the futility of the Sox batters:

RK

Player

Team

Pos

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

CS

AVG▼

OBP

SLG

OPS

1  Nava, D BOS LF 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 .333 .500 .333 .833
2  Gomes, J BOS LF 2 7 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 .286 .286 .286 .571
3  Pedroia, D BOS 2B 3 10 1 2 1 0 0 1 2 4 0 0 .200 .333 .300 .633
4  Middlebrooks, W BOS 3B 3 8 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .125 .125 .250 .375
4  Napoli, M BOS 1B 3 8 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 6 0 0 .125 .222 .500 .722
4  Saltalamacchia, J BOS C 3 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 .125 .125 .125 .250
7  Drew, S BOS SS 3 9 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 .111 .200 .111 .311
8  Ellsbury, J BOS CF 3 10 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 0 0 .100 .250 .100 .350
8  Ortiz, D BOS DH 3 10 1 1 0 0 1 4 2 4 0 0 .100 .250 .400 .650
10  Victorino, S BOS RF 3 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 0 .091 .167 .091 .258
11  Bogaerts, X BOS SS 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
11  Carp, M BOS LF 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
11  Ross, D BOS C 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .000 .500 .000 .500
14  Berry, Q BOS CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - - - .000

Nava [3 ABs] leads in BA with .333; Gomes [7ABs] .28 and then the starters fall below the infamous “Mendoza Line.”  Napoli [1 for 8] has 1 of the 2 Sox HRs and Ortiz [1 for 10] has the famous Grand Slam in Game Two that was nearly caught by Torri Hunter’s intrepid headlong leap over the Sox bullpen fence.

Detroit’s batters have been just as baffled, as this chart indicates:

Next Stats

RK

Player

Team

Pos

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

CS

AVG▼

OBP

SLG

OPS

1  Peralta, J DET SS 3 12 0 5 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .417 .417 .667 1.083
2  Martinez, V DET DH 3 11 2 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .364 .417 .545 .962
3  Avila, A DET C 3 10 1 3 0 0 1 3 2 3 0 0 .300 .417 .600 1.017
4  Fielder, P DET 1B 3 11 1 3 1 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 .273 .385 .364 .748
5  Iglesias, J DET SS 3 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .250 .400 .250 .650
6  Hunter, T DET RF 3 14 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 .214 .214 .286 .500
7  Cabrera, M DET 3B 3 11 2 2 0 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 .182 .250 .455 .705
8  Infante, O DET 2B 3 10 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 .100 .182 .100 .282
9  Jackson, A DET CF 3 13 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 .077 .143 .077 .220
10  Dirks, A DET LF 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
10  Kelly, D DET LF 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 .000 .200 .000 .200
12  Perez, H DET 2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - .000
12  Santiago, R DET 2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - .000

Peralta is the leading hitter at .417, followed by Martinez [.364] and emerging All-Star catcher, Alex Avila has 1 of the 2 Tiger HRs and is hitting .300.  Fielder is batting .273, but has yet to hit a HR or record and RBI and Miggy has 1 HR and 1 RBI, but is hitting a paltry .182.

Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan explains why Uehara has been so effective this season and especially in the ALCS against Tiger batters:

“For the record, this year, in 1-and-2 counts, Uehara has thrown 62% splitters. In 2-and-1 counts, he’s thrown 47% splitters. He’s thrown a far greater rate of 2-and-1 pitches in the zone than 1-and-2 pitches.

It also stands to reason hitters would be less defensive at 2-and-1 than 1-and-2, when they feel like they have to expand and protect.

That plays into Uehara’s strength. That plays into every pitcher’s strength, but Uehara in particular has a terrifying breaking ball that’s downright lethal when there are two strikes on the board.” [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-one-little-call-helped-the-red-sox-beat-the-tigers/]

Peavy got a no decision in his only Post-season start in the game the Sox won 3-1 against Tampa that moved them into the ALCS.

Peavy turned in a solid performance: 5 hits, 1 run, 5 2/3 innings. He walked none, K’d 3 with 74 pitches.

It was the crucial game and Farrell had a quick hook, when the Rays scored a run in the 6th; in are regular season game, Peavy would have remained in the game longer.

“Jake, on a normal situation, we’re probably having a fist fight on the mound right there,” said Farrell. “Our starters recognize the time of the year it is, the importance of every out, the importance of every matchup.”

2013 POSTSEASON STATS SUMMARY

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SHO

SV

SVO

IP

 H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

DS 0 0 1.59 1 1   0   0  0    0 5.2 5 1 1 0 0 0 3 .250 0.88 1.00

Peavy’s track record against Detroit batters is scant:

PLAYER

SEASON

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

Dirks, Andy 2013 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Fielder, Prince 2013 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Garcia, Avisail 2013 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Hunter, Torii 2013 3 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 1.333 1.667
Jackson, Austin 2013 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Kelly, Don 2013 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 .000 .333 .000 .333
Martinez, Victor 2013 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 1.333 1.667
Pena, Brayan 2013 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .500 .667 2.000 2.667
Peralta, Jhonny 2013 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Santiago, Ramon 2013 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
TOTAL 2013 27 4 5 0 0 3 5 2 0 7 1 0 .185 .241 .519 .760

Hunter and V-Mart have the most success, both .333 and a HR, but there’s not much to glean from the small sample of ABs.

Doug Fister’s Post-season stats are less impressive:

2013 POSTSEASON STATS SUMMARY

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SHO

SV

SVO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

DS 0 0 4.50 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 7 3 3 1 0 1 1 .292 1.33 2.20
TOTALS 0 0 4.50 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 7 3 3 1 0 1 1 .292 1.33 2.20

His season totals are impressive:

DOUG FISTER STATS SUMMARY

 

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SHO

SV

SVO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

IBB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

SEASON 14 9 3.67 33 32 1 0 0 0 208.2 229 91 85 14 16 44 2 159 .281 1.31 1.53
MLB Totals 44 50 3.53 130 127 6 1 0 0 818.2 828 354 321 64 43 165 7 571 .261 1.21 1.29

Against Sox batters:

PLAYER

SEASON

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

Drew, Stephen 2013 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .200 .200 .200 .400
Ellsbury, Jacoby 2013 5 2 2 1 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 .400 .500 .600 1.100
Garcia, Avisail 2013 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Iglesias, Jose 2013 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Middlebrooks, Will 2013 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Napoli, Mike 2013 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 .333 .600 .333 .933
Nava, Daniel 2013 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .500 .600 .750 1.350
Ortiz, David 2013 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 .000 .200 .000 .200
Pedroia, Dustin 2013 6 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Saltalamacchia, Jarrod 2013 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .200 .200 .200 .400
Victorino, Shane 2013 5 1 4 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 .800 .833 1.400 2.233
TOTAL 2013 45 6 15 2 0 1 6 5 1 4 0 0 .333 .412 .444 .856

Victorino in 5 ABs hit .800, 1 HR, 3 RBI, but Big Papi is 0 for 4 in this small sample.

Facing a “must win” game, Leyland will be more likely to use the fast hook at the first sign of trouble and hope that his pen can get the ball to his nerve-wracking closer, Benoit “Balls,” who will send Leyland to the tunnel with a pack of smokes in his trembling hands.

Detroit ace Justin Verlander’s lone slipup on Tuesday was a missed location on a full-count, 96-mph fastball to Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli in the seventh inning.

Ballgame, as it turned out, because the stellar work of Red Sox starter John Lackey (6 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and no walks) and Boston relievers Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara was enough to make it hold up.

 

 

If the Tigers win, it’s an even series and everyone will use the old cliché:  “Well, it’s a 2 out of 3 series now…”

If the Sox win and go up 3-1, needing only to win 1 game in 3, with the last 2 at Fenway, the pundits will roll out “backs to the wall” and recite stats about teams that came all the way back from large deficits, even from 0-3, like the Sox did in 2004.

No baseball team had ever been down three games to none in the playoffs and come back to win.

“There have been many other amazing, unexpected baseball results historically, but the Red Sox miracle is at the top.” gushed Bleacher Report’s Harold Friend.

[http://bleacherreport.com/articles/723993-baseballs-greatest-miracle-the-2004-red-sox-comeback-against-the-new-york-yank]   MORE BELOW

For “unexpected” successes in baseball history, put me down, chronologically,  for the Red Sox 1967 “Impossible Dream,” the  “Miracle Mets” 1969 season and Post-season, and the “Worst-to-First” 2013 Red Sox season.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

“The sample size is limited since the best of seven format wasn’t introduced until 1985, but no team trailing in the World Series by three games has ever won it either.

A disclaimer is necessary because a team’s opponent in the World Series is usually, or should be assumed to be, a better team that a playoff opponent.

The Yankees scored 32 runs in winning the first three games against the Red Sox. They scored 19 runs in the third game. The Red Sox were dead.

Trailing 4-3 going to the bottom of the ninth inning of the fourth game, the Sox had to score of the greatest closer in baseball history, Mariano Rivera.

Rivera uncharacteristically walked leadoff batter Kevin Millar. Dave Roberts ran for him and, on a key play, stole second. Bill Mueller singled home Roberts to tie the game.

Doug Mientkiewicz sacrificed Mueller to second, who moved to third when Johnny Damon reached first on a Tony Clark error, but it was Mariano Rivera pitching. Mueller never touched home plate.

In the bottom of the twelfth inning, David Ortiz hit a two-run home run off Paul Quantrill to win the game. The Yankees, not the Red Sox, were dead.”

[http://bleacherreport.com/articles/723993-baseballs-greatest-miracle-the-2004-red-sox-comeback-against-the-new-york-yank]

Topics: ALCS 2013, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers

Want more from BoSox Injection?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.

TEAMFeed More Red Sox news from the Fansided Network

Hot on the Web From golf.com