Tigers even ALCS at 2 games, 7-3

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No surprise– two of the most evenly matched teams in Post-season history have now—after Detroit’s 7-3 win tonight– played 4 games to a draw and the Tigers will want a home win tomorrow in Game Five, to counter-balance the “Friendly Fenway Factor”– a Pinball Palace nightmare for visiting victims.

fenway pinball copy

Despite tonight’s anomalous Tiger Runfest, in games 1 through 3 the teams were just 1 run better than the other.

It would be no surprise to the odds makers if they split games 5 and 6 and went to the last out in the last inning at Fenway to decide who gets the champagne shower and the symbolic Commissioner’s Trophy.

In the first “no drama” game, one key to the Tiger victory was manager Leyland’s decision to remix his typical batting order; the other was the complete inability of Peavy to locate his pitches; he simply did not have his normal command and was tagged for 7 earned runs and the loss.

His lack of control was atypical of his 12-year career W/9 stat is 2.7; tonight he walked 3 in just 3 innings for a W/9 of 9.00.  He threw 65 pitches, 35 were strikes.

Red Sox announcer, Dave O’Brien speculated that Peavy was having problems with his vision, perhaps related to his contact lenses.

Pitchers

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Peavy

3.0

5

7

7

3

1

0

21.00

Pitchers

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Fister

6.0

8

1

1

1

7

0

1.50

By contrast, as is his wont, Fister, who got the W,  had his usual control and worked quickly; he was able to hit his intended location in the hitting zone.  He has a 1.9 W/9 stat in this Post-season.

Although his fastball doesn’t reach the mid to upper 90s, when he’s hitting his spots, he makes batters roll over balls and drive the ball onto the ground, he is just as effective as Detroit’s 1-3 starters, Sanchez, Scherzer and Verlander.

The venerable master tactician Leyland shook up his lineup from this disappointing order, which managed just 6 runs in the first 3 games:

Batters AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Hunter, To, RF 5 1 1 2 0 1 4 .211
Cabrera, M, 3B 4 0 2 2 0 1 0 .267
  Santiago, R, 3B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .200
Martinez, V, DH 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 .400
Peralta, Jh, LF 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 .357
  Kelly, D, LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Avila, C 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 .273
Infante, 2B 4 1 1 0 0 0 5 .143
Jackson, A, CF 2 1 2 2 2 0 0 .200
Iglesias, SS 3 1 1 1 0 0 3 .286
Totals 30 7 9 7 5 4 15

…to this one that jelled for 7 runs tonight:

Batters

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

Hunter, To, RF

3

1

1

2

0

0

1

.235

Cabrera, M, 3B

3

0

2

2

0

1

0

.286

Fielder, 1B

3

0

0

0

0

1

2

.214

Martinez, V, DH

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

.357

Peralta, Jh, LF

2

1

0

0

1

1

0

.357

  Kelly, D, LF

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Avila, C

1

1

0

0

2

0

0

.273

Infante, 2B

3

1

1

0

0

0

4

.154

Jackson, A, CF

2

1

2

2

1

0

0

.200

Iglesias, SS

2

1

0

1

0

0

3

.167

Totals

22

7

7

7

4

3

10

This was the first time Torri Hunter batted lead-off in his 14-year career; he had 2 ribbies and a R scored.

The Sox outhit the Tigers 12-9, but they were not timely hits.   Leadoff batter Jacoby Ellsbury had a 4-hit night, including a double and a triple, but the Sox left 10 men on base and went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

“We had 12 hits tonight, and you leave 10 men on base,” said manager John Farrell. “The one thing when we’ve been in stretches like this, we continually do a very good job of creating opportunities. We did that tonight. 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.”

Explaining his game plan, Fister said:

“I’m not a strikeout guy…I’m a guy that goes out and gets ground balls. That’s my job. That’s what I want to do. I want to go out there and get bad contact as much as possible in the early three pitches of the count. And I have to rely on the team.”

In the second inning Peavy completely lost his command and couldn’t even aim his pitches into the K-zone and walked three; it was his worst inning this season.

With the Bases loaded nobody out fly to center, Ellsbury raced in and left his feet to dive for the ball; lead-footed Victor Martinez did not attempt to tag up from third base.

Peavy wasted Ellsbury’s extra effort; he walked Austin Jackson–who had 18 K’s in 33 Playoff ABs–on four pitches to walk in the first run of the game.

Iglesias hit a double play ball; Pedroia was unable to pick the hard hit ball cleanly and tossed to Drew, who was out of sync and made a wide throw to first base; Jhonny Peralta scored and Alex Avila moved to 3rd. Austin Jackson was forced out at 2nd and Jose Iglesias was safe at 1st, after making it 2-0. Two out.

Hunter hit a shot down the line past a diving Middlebrooks to plate both Alex Avila and Jose Iglesias for a 4-0 lead.

Cabrera slapped a pitch outside the strike zone into LF to score Jackson from 2nd and made it 5-0 going into the top of the 3rd.

Tigers 5 – Red Sox 0

The Tiger struck again in the 4th and chased Peavy, who was replaced by Brandon Workman.

Omar Infante hit a line drive ground-rule double left field.

Austin Jackson hit a sharp ground ball past second baseman Dustin Pedroia for a single scoring Omar Infante. 6-0.

Cabrera hit a ground ball single up the middle, Austin Jackson scored.

Tigers 7 – Red Sox 0

In an odd play, Workman, not expecting the sluggish and ailing Cabrera to imitate Rickey Henderson, ignored Biggy Miggy, who took advantage of the neglect by trotting to second base without a throw.

After 4 innings the Tigers had more runs [7] than they had scored in the previous three games.

The Sox avoided a shutout in the 6th when Napoli singled and moved to second, when Nava singled and scored on a single by Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava to 2nd. Drew K’d to end the threat.

Tigers 7 – Red Sox 1

The Sox made it 7-2, when Victorino doubled to score Ellsbury, who had singled.

Tigers 7 – Red Sox 2

The Sox made it 7-3, when Ellsbury tripled  to score Bogaerts, who had singled.

Tigers 7 – Red Sox 3

 

The likely pitching matchups favor the Sox in game 5 [Sanchez #3 vs. Lester #1], looks like a toss-up in game 6 [Scherzer #2 vs. Buccholz #2] at Fenway.

If it comes down to a final game, it will be Verlander #1 vs. Lackey #4, which appears to favor the Tigers, but it would be pitching staff vs. pitching staff with “all hands on deck” with no need to hold back for another game.

Neither manager will hesitate to pull a pitcher who begins to sag and it could result in a parade of pitchers from both pens.

Prior to Game Four, the Boston pitching staff ERA was 2.95 and the pen’s was 0.97.

Game Five, tomorrow [8:07 ET]

BOS: Lester (0-1, 1.42)

Regular season:

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SHO

SV

SVO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

IBB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

SEASON 15 8 3.75 33 33 1 1 0 0 213.1 209 94 89 19 7 67 0 177 .253 1.29 0.99

DET: Sanchez, An (1-0, 0.00)

Regular season:

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SHO

SV

SVO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

IBB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

SEASON 14 8 2.57 29 29 1 1 0 0 182.0 156 56 52 9 2 54 1 202 .229 1.15 1.16

Good news?  The Sox bats came back to life with 10 hits to 8 for Detroit.

Red Sox bullpen has yet to give up a run in this series.

Q:  Will Farrell follow Leyland’s lead and shake up his lineup?

Q:  Will Xander Bogaerts play SS, in lieu of Drew, or 3b for Middlebrooks?

Q:  Will Gomes start in LF for Nava?

Thus far, the 2013 ALCS is developing into one of the most evenly matched Post-season series ever.

GAME BOX: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?c_id=bos&gid=2013_10_16_bosmlb_detmlb_1&lang=en

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

HISTORY:  Old School fans may recall an evenly matched World Series in 1962, when the Giants and the Yankees alternated wins; New York won games 1, 3, 5 and 7; San Francisco won games 2, 4 and 6.

The final score in Game 7 could not have been closer; the Yankees prevailed 1-0, scoring the only run of the game on a double play grounder that scored Bill “Moose” Skowron. The game went down to the final swing with Giants on second and third with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning when Willie McCovey came to bat.

The inning started with speedy pinch hitter Matty Alou lying down a “Mickey Mantle Drag Bunt” past the pitcher [starter Ralph Terry], between second and first for an infield single.

[See Mickey Mantle Tells Secret of Drag Bunt here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q2Qx6gVXq0]

After two outs were recorded, Willie Mays ripped a clutch opposite field double down the right field line; he raced around first and had a double, but the speedy Alou was held at third, likely out of fear of the superb throwing arm of RF Roger Maris.

Yankee manager Ralph Houk could  have removed his tiring starter to bring in a LHP to match up against the LHB McCovey; RHB Orlando Cepeda was on deck, with 35 HRs.  McCovey had a HR against Terry in Game Two and had rocked him for a triple two innings earlier in the game, but Houk went contrary to the mythical “book” and stayed with Terry.

It looked like a mistake when McCovey brought the home crowd [2:47] to its feet with a fly ball down the RF line, but it faded right and dunked into the stands foul.

Terry rewarded his manager’s confidence getting McCovey to hit a line drive right at second baseman Bobby Richardson; he took two slide steps to his left and he caught the ball at shoulder height, covering it with his right hand to secure the out and the win.

The Game of Baseball, famous as a “game of inches,” could have allowed the liner to go to the left of the Second basemen and up the middle for a 2-1 Giants’ win, or just out of his over the edge of his glove as he leaped for it over his head, but instead the white leather ball found Richardson’s brown leather glove, as if it were coming home.

Last out at 1:36 on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD1TPzwIG9I

 

 

 

 

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Tags: ALCS Boston Red Sox Detroit Tigers GAME FOUR

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