Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 10/12/13
(credit to Detroit News for the image. Note to Detroit News – we’re not making any money off of this. Still, if you want us to take it down, just post here and we will) 3-2, 8 more to go. Look, I’m happy to be here. I am. It’s better than the alternative. But champagne parties seems a little excessive for one playoff series win. That I can think of, baseball is the only sport that goes to such extremes for advancing in the playoffs. We’ve been here before. This is our fourth time in eight years to make it to the ALCS. We could be in the midst of a dynasty, to be honest (though we’d need two WS wins I think to qualify). At least perhaps we are building one. But let’s not act as if winning the first round of the AL playoffs means we have accomplished anything. This team was built to do one thing and we’re still 8 wins away. Tom Verducci of SI had some fascinating stats in the SI playoff preview last week. The gist of the article discussed the whimsical nature of MLB playoffs, especially with the advent of the wild card. I think we’re all well aware of the A’s struggles in recent years, mostly at the hands of the Tigers, but did you know that Atlanta has now lost 7 straight post-season series? Over the past 22 postseasons, only 3 teams with the regular season best record went on to win the WS. In the 22 years before that, 8 teams did it. Last year’s Giants finished last in the majors in home runs…we saw what happened in the World Series. Home teams went 2-5 in elimination games last year, and are 2-3 so far this year. On to the series at hand. The 2013 American League Championship series pits the top two offensive teams in the Majors, and numbers 3 (Boston) and 4 in terms of payroll. The Red Sox are good, very good. They led the AL with 97 wins this year, and really ran away with the toughest division in Baseball. As one of my friends remarked to me this year, how? How different are they than last year’s last place team? Well, for one, the entire lineup is solid. Napoli was a steal in free agency. Ortiz has regained his science assisted form, and they still have Ellsbury and Pedroia, two of the better all-around players in the game. Their starting pitching has been solid top to bottom, and their bullpen as been one of the best, ending in the nearly unhittable Koji Uehara. Uehara’s WHIP this year was .565. In 74 1/3. I’m serious. BAA – .130, OPS against – .400. Oh, and Bobby Valentine is gone. Maybe there is something to that morale thing. Your 2013 AL ERA title holder, Anibal Sanchez, gets the call for game one. Trivia for you – Sanchez started his career in the Red Sox system, before being traded away to Florida, and ultimately stolen by the Tigers. Despite his poor outing against Oakland last week, I love this match-up. Sanchez doesn’t have much of a track record against the current Red Sox lineup, which generally is an advantage for the pitcher. The Red Sox take more pitches than any other team in the majors. In fact, they saw over 1,000 more than the next most patient team. That can wreak havoc on a staff. The key tonight will be first pitch strikes. Sanchez was 16th in the AL last year,a t 61.5%. That’s good, but it won’t be good enough tonight. Lester was just a few spots behind Sanchez at 60.9%. Phil Coke was added to the playoff roster today, replacing Putkonen. The reason is likely because Ortiz is a lifetime 2-18 off of Coke, or perhaps Leyland likes to stress everyone out. Probably the former. Lineup notes: Looks like Leyland is going to stick with Jackson in the leadoff hole. I’m okay with this. If we can win without him going, imagine what we can do when he does get going. And he’s bound to do so, soon. Peralta and Iglesias start today. This makes me very nervous with the Green Monster in left, but with a left-handed pitcher, I get it. What contradicts this is Avila getting the start again despite just 2 hits and a .449 OPS in the ALDS. He’s doing a great job of calling games and I’m sure that’s whey Leyland has him back there, but you gotta give Pena a chance to give your offense some help, especially with the struggles at the 1 & 9 spots. Tonight’s lineups: 1. Jackson, CF 2. Hunter, RF 3. Cabrera, 3B 4. FIelder, 1B 5. Martinez, DH 6. Peralta, LF 7. Infante, 2B 8. Avila, C 9. Iglesias, SS   1. Ellsbury, CF 2. Victorino, RF 3. Pedroia, 2B 4. Ortiz, DH 5. Napoli, 1B 6. Nava, LF 7. Drew, SS 8. Middlebrooks, 3B 9. Ross, C (this is literally the first time I have ever heard of this guy)
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady issues statement on Facebook after having suspension lifted

Don Orsillo reportedly asked to lie about being fired by NESN

Matt Cassel believes Bills will keep three quarterbacks

St. Louis police seize scalpers' World Series tickets to give to friends

Eli Manning happy Tom Brady will play NFL season opener

Phil Kessel has shed 13 pounds this summer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

WATCH: Ben Revere gifted Matt Wieters a home run

Judge Sarah Thomas as an NFL official, not a female NFL official

Redskins skip Robert Griffin III in jersey countdown

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Simona Halep popular with fans who want to kiss her

Patriots planned on raising a "Brady banner on opening night

Braves and Phillies sucking at the same time is rare

Montana St. linebacker delivers bone crushing hit in opener

Despite loss, all eyes still on Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines

Kirk Cousins discusses what it’s like to be called ‘Kurt’

Playoffs or not, Bryce Harper is the NL MVP

Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly seeking alimony

Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler: A love/hate relationship

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Tom Brady issues statement on Facebook

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker