— ESPN (@espn) June 4, 2014
When a futuristic robot/killing machine who has no rang of motion throws out a better first pitch than you, you know you’re in trouble. In 50 Cent’s defense, he looks way better than RoboCop in an extra small muscle shirt.
The Tigers come to town tonight to begin what should be a fantastic ALCS. The MLB implemented new rules for this postseason, including a wild card play in round, but it looks the best 4 teams survived to make the league championship series. Here are the pitching matchups for the first four games and some keys to victory for the Sox:
Detroit: Game 1. Anibal Sanchez; Game 2. Max Scherzer; Game 3. Justin Verlander; Game 4. Doug Fister
Red Sox: Game 1. Jon Lester; Game 2. Clay Bucholz; Game 3. John Lackey; Game 4. Jake Peavy
Kind of goes without saying that Detroit has the pitching advantage in this series. We all know about Scherzer and Verlander, but Sanchez had a 2.57 ERA this year. We also shouldn’t have short term memory loss either. All anyone could talk about before game 1 of the ALDS is how Matt Moore and David Price had dominated the Red Sox all year. Two games and 19 runs later we had a 2-0 series lead. I trust our starters, especially Lester and Bucholz at home. Lackey has found renewed self confidence this year, and I’m pretty sure Peavy could pitch a good game with the field on fire. The chances of us beating Scherzer and Verlander back to back are slim, but if we beat one of them and take games 1 and 4, then I love only having to win one of the next three games.
Keys To Victory
1. PLAY JONNY GOMES – Gomes is the sparkplug for this team, no doubt about it. I love Nava, but Gomes brings an unmatched intensity to each and every game. There’s a reason they scored 19 runs in his two starts and 7 runs in his two non starts.
2. Beard-lieve – Yes it’s weird. But I believe the truly great teams hitch their wagons to an off the field activity and use it bring each other closer together. The 2013 Red Sox just so happened to pick beards. I’ve never seen a team so tight knit, and I’m loving every moment of it. If the beards are helping the Sox win, keep it growing (see what I did there).
3. Trust. John Farrell has a lot of Terry Francona in him. Remember when everyone wanted Francona to bench Pedroia in ’07? Guess that worked out OK. Same thing here with Farrell, as he’s stuck with Napoli and Salty when they’ve struggled, and they’ve always come through. Nap had an awful ALDS, and besides game 1, so did Salty. I expect them to both have a big ol’ ALCS.
A side note on the trust theme: Farrell trusts every single guy on this roster (except Kendrick Morales). From Ellsbury to Pedroia to Gomes to Boegarts, Farrell knows if he calls on a guy to do a job he’ll do it. So understated yet so important.
I really like this Red Sox squad against any team, and I think they’ll fare well against the Tigers. I want to say Sox in 5, but it’d be nice to see them celebrate at Fenway. Sox in 6 bitches.
Red Sox making the biggest splash at the trade deadline so far landing White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy late last night. Although Peavy has been injury prone, I love the move. He’s not being brought in to be a savior, but rather fill a specific role. When Bucholtz returns from the DL, the Sox will have 7 legitimate starting pitchers, which means two will head to their over worked bullpen. The flip side of this trade is the loss of Jose Iglesias. A gifted fielder, Iglesias never truly found his bat in a Red Sox uniform. He did get off to a hot start, winning AL Rookie of the Month in June, but his batting average has tumbled almost 100 points in July. Add in the fact that the Red Sox signed veteran SS Stephen Drew in the offseason, and Iggy basically became the odd man out. He’s going to be a joy to watch in Detroit, and I think I speak for everyone in Red Sox Nation when I say I wish him all the best. As for our own playoff race, I’m excited we added a proven veteran arm for the home stretch. If only the Rays would lose a game once in awhile, we’d be in good shape.
P.S. His new nickname is Jake The Snake right? That can’t even be a question. Jake The Snake it is.