Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (-115, 7)
The host Boston Red Sox are one victory away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2007 and will have to defeat either Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander to get there. Boston has a 3-2 lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series and Scherzer, the probable AL Cy Young Award winner, will attempt to even the series on Saturday. Verlander would start Game 7 on Sunday if the Red Sox don’t wrap up the series in six games.
Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera isn’t displaying his MVP-caliber form due to groin and abdominal injuries and first baseman Prince Fielder has played 17 consecutive postseason games without an RBI. “We have to go to Fenway and we have to fight hard to win a game,” Cabrera said after the Tigers' 4-3 loss in Game 5 on Thursday. “If we do that, we have to keep fighting and get the next one.” Boston’s Mike Napoli has been a force with a .375 average and two homers in the series, while designated hitter David Ortiz is 2-for-19 – with one of the hits being his memorable game-tying grand slam in Game 2 that saved the Red Sox from falling into an 0-2 hole.
TV: 4:37 p.m. ET, Fox
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-60s and wind will blow out to left field at 11 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Max Scherzer (0-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Clay Buchholz (0-0, 7.94)
Scherzer dominated Boston hitters in Game 2, striking out 13 and allowing one run and two hits in seven innings. He departed with a 5-1 lead after 108 pitches before a bullpen meltdown helped the Red Sox rally for an improbable victory. One of Scherzer’s three regular-season losses came at Fenway Park when he allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings on Sept. 3.
Buchholz began strongly in Game 2 before wilting - giving up five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Tigers torched him for four runs in the sixth with four extra-base hits, including homers by Cabrera and Alex Avila. Buchholz has a 6.17 ERA and has been touched for three homers in 11 2/3 innings this postseason.
* Over is 7-1-1 in Scherzer's last nine starts vs. Red Sox.
* Red Sox are 8-1 in Buchholz's last nine starts with 5 days of rest.
* Red Sox are 6-1 in Buchholz's last seven starts vs. Tigers.
UMPIRE TRENDS - Dan Iassogna:
* Road team is 9-1 in Iassogna's last 10 games behind home plate.
* Under is 20-6-3 in Iassogna's last 29 games behind home plate.
* Red Sox are 1-5 in their last six games with Iassogna behind home plate.
1. Four of the five games have been decided by one run, which is one shy of the record for a league championship series - set by the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves in the 1999 NLCS.
2. Avila (knee) left Game 5 two innings after a collision at home plate and is questionable for Saturday’s contest.
3. Boston RHP Koji Uehara retired all five batters for his second save of the series. He has struck out seven in five scoreless innings in the ALCS.