Red Sox Report: ALCS Preview
The ALCS will match the Red Sox against the Detroit Tigers, led by red hot ace Justin Verlander and perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera.
This is a lineup that causes a lot of worry. From Cabrera, and his partner in crime Prince Fielder, to Jhonny Peralta, the resurgence of Torii Hunter, all the way defensive wiz Jose Iglesias (dealt by the Sox as part of the Jake Peavy 3 team trade), this team is loaded. Not to mention their starting rotation is solid too, headed by Verlander, who pitched a gem in Game 5 of the ALDS against the A’s, and the likely 2013 AL Cy Young Winner, Max Scherzer.
Let’s compare these two teams.
Although the Tigers have 2 great pitchers in their rotation, the rest of the rotation doesn’t wow anyone. Unless you’re a true baseball fan and follow it constantly, you probably haven’t heard of the like of Doug Fister or Anibal Sanchez. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have 4 real good pitchers in their rotation. Led by Jon Lester, this group of 4 gave up 10 runs total to the Rays in the ALDS. Pitching wins championships, and the Sox have plenty of that. Advantage, Red Sox.
Now let’s take a look at the bullpens for both teams. The big name for the Tigers is Joaquin Benoit. He’s a solid closer. He gets the job done most of the time, but he is more suited to be a set up man then a closer. And that’s there issue. They don’t really have anyone to get from their starters to Benoit, which is an issue. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have quality pitchers to get them from their starters to their closer, Mr. High 5, Koji Uehara. The bullpen looked good against the Rays, and besides Koji’s mistake to Jose Lobaton in Game 3, he looked like the All-star he should have been. So based on how they’ve looked so far, I would have to give the bullpen advantage to the Red Sox as well.
Offensively, this is a draw. I can’t bring myself to say an offense that has Miguel Cabrera is not as good as another offense. The Sox don’t have that 1 superstar that the Tigers do in Cabrera (Fielder is up there too), but they are solid 1 through 9. This is a virtual lock between two of the most proficient offenses in baseball. So we’ll keep it as a tie.
Overall, it seems like the Red Sox have the advantage. Better pitching staff, and an equivalent (an argument could be made it is better) offense. We have not even mentioned their home-field advantage yet. All around I think this is going to be an excellent series. Game 1 matches Lester against Sanchez, and I got my man Jon.
Sox in 6. Let’s hope to see a few more of these celebrations.