Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
In the ALDS, the Tigers faced a very sound Oakland squad - but that squad lacked the star players that the Tigers had, and when push came to shove, that's what swung things for the Tigers, pulling out Game 5 thanks to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. Unlike the A's, the Red Sox have stars. Dustin Pedroia is a former MVP, while David Ortiz is a many time All-Star as one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. Clay Buchholz would have claimed the ERA title if he had enough starts to qualify, while Jon Lester and John Lackey have both been All Stars. And Koji Uehara allowed just nine earned runs in 73 appearances as the team's dominant closer. Like the A's, this is a very good team, only with a couple of stars mixed in. If the Tigers had a healthy Miguel Cabrera with an offense firing on all cylinders, this would be an incredible matchup, but without those things, I see a lot of low scoring affairs coming up, and the strength of the Red Sox bullpen makes me think most of those games go Boston's way. Red Sox in six games.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
If you are a Tigers fan, this series has to scare the crap out of you. The Red Sox are a tremendous team from top to bottom, and they can beat you in a variety of ways. While their pitching staff doesn't have the flash of Verlander and Scherzer, they run a four-deep rotation with Lester and Buccholz capable of stellar performances. Their bullpen is pretty easily better than the Tigers with guys like Breslow, Tazawa and Uehara pitching well in the late innings this season. Like the pitching staff, the Red Sox lineup is not star studded either, instead featuring a host of players that compliment big bats like David Ortiz and Dutin Pedroia well. The Tigers found their rhythm a bit in games four and five against Oakland and the pitching sure seems like it should keep the club in games throughout the series, so they'll have more than a fighting chance. If Sanchez can come out strong and at least keep game one in check, then I think the Tigers will come out punching with Scherzer and Verlander in games two and three, and hope that the offense kicks in against John Lackey and Jake Peavey as the series lengthens. I think you will see the series go six games with the Tigers prevailing on the back of two excellent starts from Max Scherzer, a continuance of Justin Verlander's dominance, and a sparkling second outing from Anibal Sanchez. Tigers win 4-2.
James Chipman, Senior Correspondent
The Detroit Tigers road to the World Series only gets tougher as they travel to Boston to open the ALCS on Saturday. Finishing tied with St. Louis for an MLB best 97 wins, Boston fields great, pitches well and hits even better. Boston's bench and bullpen are also arguably stronger than Detroit's. In short, the Tigers have their work cut out out for them once again this series. The last time the Tigers faced the Red Sox they were routed by a score of 20-4 back in September. Detroit actually had some success against Boston this season though, outscoring the Red Sox 51-43, and winning four of their seven matchups. What must the Tigers do to win their next seven game series against Boston? Well, first off, scuffling ALDS table setters Austin Jackson 2-for-20 with 13 strikeouts and Torii Hunter (.158 AVG) will need to revert back to their former selves to help the middle of the lineup. Of course Tigers' starters will also need to continue throwing deep into games to take the pressure of Detroit's suspect bullpen. Despite being highly regarded as underdogs this series, I still believe that the Tigers will grind out a hard fought series, defeating the Red Sox in six games.
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