We already know what Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander can do even if JV's record in the ALCS is spotty. However they will starts games 2 and three. Anibal Sanchez gets the strat in game one and his record in the ALCS is limited but extraordinary. He did throw 7 innings of no hit ball last year against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. Let's hope that tough outing against the Oakland A's is motivating him.
With all of that being said let us take a look at a few things to watch for in this series:
- Lineup changes- it seems at some point Jim Leyland is going to have to adjust his lineup to get more offensive production. Austin Jackson has been horrific in the lead off spot and Prince Fielder continues to be a post season bust. Add to that ailing Miguel Cabrera and one had to wonder if Jhonny Peralta doesn't see some time at third and if Cabrera doesn't serve as the DH. Having Vmart play first base to light a fire under Prince also seems like a good idea. However those might not be game one changes.
- Phil Coke- he is on the ALCS roster, but what is his role going to be? Will he be able to get left handers out? Let us not forget this is the guy who stepped p big time last year in the playoffs. Maybe he can do it again.
- Miguel Cabrera- he hit a big home run in game five in Oakland. Does that mean he is getting better? Can he be the guy this lineup needs him to be?
- Unsung heroes- one of the role players is likely going to have to come up big here. Jhonny Perlata has been that guy so far, but who steps up now? AJ, Alex Avila, Omar Infante...one of these players needs to be magical in the bottom of the order.
The Goal for the Tigers remains clear. Win one of the first two in Boston. Then come home with JV going in game three and Doug Fister going to game four a hoping to win both those contests. The key here is to force the Bosox into having to beat Max Scherzer and/or JVonce to win this series. If they do that they just might be going back to the World Series.