BOSTON (CBS) – Just one win away from a World Series berth, the Boston Red Sox are feeling pretty good about themselves.
But their focus isn’t on making it to the fall classic. They’re focused on Saturday’s Game 6 against 21-game winner Max Scherzer. He and the rest of the Detroit Tigers are all that is standing in Boston’s way of a trip to the World Series, and that’s all this team cares about right now.
“This is a very focused group. It’s been the case all year, from day one of Spring Training,” said manager John Farrell. “Our guys are well aware of where we are, but at the same time the beauty of them is to not get ahead of themselves, and that will be the case once that first pitch is thrown on Saturday.”
Taking care of business on Saturday means an extra day of rest and no sequel to Game 3′s Justin Verlander-John Lackey matchup. The Sox got the best of Verlander in that game, needing just one swing of Mike Napoli’s bat for the game’s only run, but don’t want to tempt fate a second time around.
Boston is coming off yet another one-run game, taking Thursday’s Game 5 by a slim 4-3 margin. It was the fourth one-run game of the series, the most in a single ALCS and one off the 1999 Mets-Braves NCLS which had five one-run games.
“This series has been unbelievable,” DH David Ortiz said after the Game 5 win. “We head to our house with a lead. We all know we have to come back on Saturday and keep on playing.”
The way the series is going, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Game 6 is also decided by one run. Scherzer held Boston hitless into the sixth inning in Game 2, allowing just one run off two hits over seven innings. He struck out 13 free-swinging Red Sox in that game.
But Game 2 is in the past, and the Red Sox are focused solely on the present. They feel good about themselves and the 22 hits they’ve racked up in the last two games, but know things are only going to get harder as they try to send the Tigers home for good.
“We’re not going to relax by any means,” said Dustin Pedroia, who has his series average up to .263 after going 2-for-5 in Game 5. “We have to go out and play hard, do the things we’ve done all year that make our team good.”
“We still have to go inning-to-inning. It’s not getting any easier,” added outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was 1-for-3 off Scherzer in Game 2.
Clay Buchholz will be back on the hill for Boston, looking for some redemption after giving up five runs in 5.2 innings his last time out. He’s looking forward to getting another crack at the Tigers, and another chance to show the Fenway Faithful what he can do in the postseason.
“It’s a special place,” he said of Fenway. “Obviously it’s our home field so it’s a little bit easier to say that. Out of all the parks I’ve pitched in, Fenway is a different type of place. They’ll let you know if you don’t do the job, but at the same time, if you do well the fans there, they know the game and it’s just a fun place to pitch.”
“I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out there and giving it another run,” said Buchholz.
The Red Sox are 9-3 all-time in Game 6′s, and 5-0 at Fenway Park. They are a perfect 5-0 in Game 6 of the ALCS, with two of those wins (1986, 2007) coming at home.
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