Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (-153, 7.5)
The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers have storied histories but will be facing each other for the first time in the postseason on Saturday when Game 1 of the American League Championship Series revs up at Fenway Park. Boston is looking to reach the World Series for the first time since 2007 while Detroit is seeking to return for the second consecutive year and third time in eight seasons. The Tigers won the season series 4-3.
The two teams were the highest-scoring squads in the majors – Boston recorded 853 runs, 57 more than Detroit – so the balance of potent bats and strong pitching arms will be intriguing. The health of Miguel Cabrera (groin) continues to be an issue but the Tigers' standout belted a two-run shot – his first homer since Sept. 18 – in the division series finale against Oakland and is 10-for-19 against Red Sox starter Jon Lester. Boston is certainly more rested after clinching its series against Tampa Bay on Tuesday while Detroit wrapped up its set versus Oakland on Thursday night and then traveled across the country.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-50s and wind will blow in from right field at 10 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Anibal Sanchez (15-8, 2.57 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75)
Sanchez led the AL in ERA and allowed only nine regular-season homers but was shaky in his ALDS start against Oakland. He gave up six runs (five earned) and eight hits – including three homers – in 4 1/3 innings. Sanchez's lone career outing against Boston was for the Marlins in 2006 when he yielded seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in his second career start.
Lester went 3-0 in five September starts and the strong finish carried over to a victory against Tampa Bay in which he allowed two runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings. He went 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA versus the Tigers this season – including a victory on Sept. 3 in which he allowed one run and struck out nine in seven innings – to improve to 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA in seven career outings. Lester gave up just one homer over his last 10 regular-season starts before permitting two solo shots in the start against the Rays.
* Over is 12-4 in the last 16 meetings.
* Tigers are 15-36 in the last 51 meetings in Boston.
* Tigers are 6-0 in their last six games vs. a left-handed starter.
* Red Sox are 12-2 in Lester's last 14 home starts.
1. The final meeting of the regular-season series resulted in Boston posting a 20-4 victory over the Tigers on Sept. 4.
2. Detroit CF Austin Jackson had a miserable ALDS against Oakland, going 2-for-20 with 13 strikeouts.
3. Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury went 9-for-18 with seven runs scored and four stolen bases in the ALDS while playing through a foot injury.