Red Sox ALCS Chances Hinge On Pitching Match-Ups

The Red Sox will face an interesting dynamic in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers in the next two weeks .  They will face Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, the two aces of the Detroit Tigers, in 4 of the games and Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, two pitchers that have had limited success against the Red Sox in the past, in the other 3.  If you break the series down into two different phases it’s easier to see the Red Sox’ chances in the series.

For example if the Sox can sweep the 3 Sanchez/Fister games then all they would have to do is beat the Scherzer/Verlander combination one time.  Conversely if Sanchez or Fister take even 1 of their 3 games the pressure will be on Boston because they will have to take 2 games from the Verlander/Schezer combination.

Scherzer will start 2 games this series but both will come at Fenway Park

Scherzer will start 2 games this series but both will come at Fenway Park

If you take a deeper look at the pitching match-ups by game you might like the Red Sox’ chances even more.  For starters Sanchez matches up against Red Sox ace Jon Lester in Games 1 and 5.  Scherzer, the Tigers’ best pitcher in 2013, gets a tougher match-up against Clay Buchholz in games 2 and 6.  The Tigers get an obvious advantage in game 3 and 7 with Verlander facing off against John Lackey.  Then there is the swing game 4, perhaps the most important game, which will match Fister up with Jake Peavy in what looks like a favorable match-up for the Red Sox.

Perhaps the biggest advantage that the Red Sox have is that they get the Buchholz/Scherzer match-up twice at Fenway Park.  Buchholz was 6-1 with a 1.99 ERA at Fenway Park this season.  Scherzer lost in his only outing in Boston, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 innings.  In a lot of ways Scherzer is the more important pitcher this series than Verlander is.  The Sox could conceivably lose Verlander’s first start and not even get to him in Game 7 if they take care of business in the other games.  If the Sox can beat Scherzer it’s hard to see how they won’t win the series.

Buchholz gets 2 starts at home where he had a 1.99 ERA

Buchholz gets 2 starts at home where he had a 1.99 ERA

With all that being said the Sox need to take it one game at a time.  Sanchez is the challenge tonight.  Win the day and then look forward to tomorrow.  If the Sox play like they have all year there’s a good chance that they’ll be playing for a world championship.

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