BOSTON (CBS) – The ALCS returns to Fenway Park on Saturday after a four-year absence, with the Red Sox set to take on the Detroit Tigers with a trip to the World Series on the line.
In beating the Tampa Bay Rays in four games, while the Tigers needed five to eliminate the A’s, the Red Sox are able to line up their rotation however they want.
Jon Lester once again gets the Game 1 start for Boston, as he did against the Rays in the ALDS, with Anibal Sanchez getting the nod for Detroit. Here is a quick snapshot of the two Game 1 starters:
Jon Lester: 15-8, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 177 K in 213.1 IP
2013 vs. Tigers: 2 GS, 2-0, 4.26 ERA, 17 H, 6 ER in 12.2 IP, 12 K
Anibal Sanchez: 14-8, 2.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 202 K in 182 IP
2013 Postseason: 0-1, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 HR in 4.1 IP vs. Athletics in Game 2
Sanchez, a former Red Sox prospect who was sent to the Florida Marlins in the winter of 2005 as part of the Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell trade, has faced Boston just once in his career, way back in 2006. The Red Sox had a good day against Sanchez, tagging him for seven earned runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. Sanchez gave up three home runs in the 11-5 Marlins loss, two off the bat of David Ortiz.
Shane Victorino is the only player on the Red Sox with extended experience against Sanchez, with 48 career at-bats. Victorino has just 10 hits against Sanchez (for a .233 average) and seven strikeouts. Stephen Drew is next with 18 career at-bats, collecting five hits while striking out four times.
As for Lester, he has seen plenty of the Detroit Tigers over the years. In seven career starts, he is just 2-2 (both wins coming this season) with a 4.63 ERA.
A few of the Tigers’ big bats have hit well against Lester, with Miguel Cabrera a career 10-for-19 with two doubles and a home run. Torii Hunter is 11-for-23 off the left, while Victor Martinez is 6-for-13 with a homer and three RBIs.
But Lester has always pitched well in the playoffs, touting a 3-3 record and 2.54 ERA in seven postseason starts.
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