The Detroit Tigers will build on last night’s game four victory over the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championships Series and, on Thursday, will take a three-games-to-two lead at home in their best-of-seven clash for a spot in the World Series.
In game four, the Tigers bats finally came alive. The team pounded out nine hits and, most important, six of the nine members of the lineup contributed to that tally. Struggling hitters like Austin Jackson, who registered two hits and two walks in four plate appearances on Wednesday, increased confidence in this game. That feeling will carry over in this game against Red Sox starter Jon Lester.
Lester battled valiantly in a game one loss in this series. He gave up just one run, six hits and one walk, while striking out four in 6 1/3. But a key factor in his performance was the fact that he was throwing at Fenway Park.
The left-hander had a pretty stark home-road split in 2013. At Fenway he was 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA, and on the road he was 8-7 with a 4.21 ERA. Most notably, he doesn’t have a good history at Comerica Park. In three starts at the Tigers’ ballpark, Lester owns a weak 4.58 ERA. He’s given up 19 hits and 10 walks in 19 2/3 innings there.
In addition, despite the pitcher’s great outing earlier in this series, the Tigers have hit Lester very well over the long haul. In 200 plate appearances, Detroit hitters own a lofty .361 batting average, .425 on base percentage and a .539 slugging percentage. With the Tigers’ renewed confidence that history does not suggest good things for Lester.
In contrast, Anibal Sanchez has good reason to look forward to this start. Not only did he no-hit the Red Sox over six innings in game one of the series (and struck out 12 batters), but he returns to Comerica Park, where he has always pitched well. In 20 starts in his home ballpark, Sanchez is 11-5 with a 2.92 ERA.
Unlike Lester’s woes against his opposing hitters, Sanchez has taken care of Boston’s lineup. In 115 plate appearances, he’s held the Red Sox batters to a .210 ERA.
Pick the Tigers, who are on at 1.83, to win this contest.
Back the Detroit Tigers to beat the Boston Red So at 1.83
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