Of all the things I don’t know about this series, I do know one thing; do not bet against Justin Verlander in a game seven with it all on the line. Yeah, yeah, he’s 3-2 and lifetime in league championship series with a 3.55 ERA, not by any stretch a dominant force. It’s just that I’ve been watching him a lot during his last three starts and his form just looks so damn good that it makes me beyond nervous thinking about a game seven tilt tomorrow night against him should the Sox fail to punch their ticket tonight.
Oct 15, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the fifth inning in game three of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Verlander had a so-so .500 season but has been coming on strong down the stretch. Boston needs to put the Tigers away tonight to avoid any such catastrophe at the hands of one of Major League Baseball’s best pitchers in the last eight years. In the words of the famous Nike ad the Sox have to “Just Do It” tonight.
Clay Buchholz, after a very mediocre outing in his last start has two things to prove; 1. he’s fully back from his neck and shoulder injury that sidelined him for three months during the regular season and 2. he can win big games in the playoffs and shed his image of a gifted yet fragile pitcher.
Buchholz has a lot going for him tonight. Boston’s bats have recently reawakened thanks to Mike Napoli‘s game five outburst. David Ortiz, Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew have to put on their big boy pants and start hitting again tonight in order stave off their playoff low batting averages of .105, 095 and .059 respectively. Ick. Pass the Pepto.