Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox (+108, 7.5)
Red Sox lead series 1-0.
The biggest worry for the Boston Red Sox prior to Game 1 of the American League Division Series was rust after taking four days off between games. That turned out to not be much of a concern in a 12-2 victory, and the Red Sox will look to take a commanding lead in the best-of-five series when they host Game 2 on Saturday. Tampa Bay finished second in the majors in fielding percentage but looked uncomfortable on defense in Game 1.
Rays left fielder Sean Rodriguez had trouble judging balls off the “Green Monster” and rookie Wil Myers let a fly ball drop on the warning track in deep right-center in Game 1, leading to big innings for the Red Sox. With right-hander John Lackey scheduled to start for Boston on Saturday, Tampa Bay will likely give Rodriguez the start off in Game 2. Every Red Sox starter recorded at least one hit in Game 1, and seven different players had at least one RBI.
TV: 5:37 p.m. ET, TBS
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-60s with partly cloudy skies. Wind will blow in from CF at 6 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH David Price (10-8, 3.33 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH John Lackey (10-13, 3.52)
Price pitched Tampa Bay into the playoffs by holding the Texas Rangers to two runs on seven hits in a complete game on Monday. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs in each of his last five starts, including over eight innings against the Red Sox on Sept. 10. Price is 1-3 with a 3.96 ERA in his postseason career but came out of the bullpen against Boston in the 2008 ALCS, including closing out a Game 7 win.
Lackey last pitched at Colorado on Sept. 24 and struggled to a 4.98 ERA in five starts over the final month of the regular season. The veteran faced Tampa Bay twice in 2013 and was knocked around for nine runs on 19 hits in 10 total innings. Lackey is making his first postseason appearance since 2009, when he was with the Los Angeles Angels, and is 3-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 14 career playoff games - 12 starts.
* Under is 5-0 in Price's last five road starts vs. Red Sox.
* Under is 21-6 in the last 27 meetings in Boston.
* Red Sox are 4-1 in their last five games with umpire Eric Cooper behind home plate.
* Under is 6-2 in Lackeys last eight starts vs. American League East.
1. Red Sox backup C David Ross is 2-for-5 with two home runs in his career against Price and is expected to catch Lackey on Saturday.
2. Myers is 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the last three games.
3. Boston has recorded 41 straight stolen bases without being caught.
Detroit Tigers at Oakland A's (+114, 7)
Tigers lead series 1-0.
The Detroit Tigers had a distinct advantage in starting pitching entering the American League Division Series, and are putting it to good use. The Tigers threw the 2013 Cy Young Award favorite in a Game 1 victory and will send a former Cy Young winner to the mound in Justin Verlander when they visit the Oakland Athletics for Game 2 on Saturday. The Athletics managed just three hits in the 3-2 loss on Friday.
Detroit pitching piled up 16 strikeouts between Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit on Friday and seemed to figure out everyone in the lineup except Yoenis Cespedes, who tripled and homered for Oakland. The Athletics dropped the first two games of the ALDS to the Tigers on the road in 2012 and came back to force a Game 5 before falling short. Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera is noticeably hobbled by groin and abdominal pain and had to be removed on defense late Friday.
TV: 9:07 p.m. ET, TBS
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-70s with sunny skies. Wind will blow out to right field at 6 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67)
Verlander dominated in his last two starts, accumulating 12 scoreless innings while allowing nine hits and striking out 22. The 30-year-old surrendered one run and three hits over six frames at Oakland on April 13 but lost to the Athletics on Aug. 27, yielding five runs (three earned) in five innings. Verlander beat Oakland twice in the ALDS last October, allowing one run in 16 total innings.
Gray earned his spot in the postseason rotation with a strong finish to his rookie campaign, going 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in five September starts. The 23-year-old tuned up by striking out eight and scattering three hits over five scoreless innings at Seattle on Sunday. Gray surrendered two or fewer earned runs in eight of his 10 starts.
* Tigers are 4-0 in Verlander's last four road starts vs. Athletics.
* Under is 7-0 in Tigers last seven overall.
* Under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings in Oakland.
* Athletics are 10-1 in their last 11 games following a loss.
1. Athletics RHP A.J. Griffin (right elbow tendinitis) could begin throwing again on Saturday in an effort to be ready for the ALCS.
2. Cabrera has two extra-base hits in his last 26 games.
3. Cespedes is 4-for-12 with a pair of doubles against Verlander in his career.