Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Fenway Park will be buzzing tonight as the Boston Red Sox have an opportunity to get back to the World Series with one more ALCS win against the Detroit Tigers. Getting there will not be easy, as the Sox face this year’s undoubted Cy Young winner Max Scherzer tonight, and if they can’t get it done against him, they will go up against Justin Verlander in Game 7 tomorrow night.
Scherzer was the recipient of a tough no decision after he dominated the Sox in Game 2, only to see it wiped away after he departed with one swing of Big Papi’s bat. We will see if he is able to pitch out in front of the Sox again tonight and keep them guessing, or if the Red Sox get aggressive and start swinging earlier in the count (like they did against strike machine David Price in the ALDS).
Red Sox bats have started to show some signs of life lately, starting with Jacoby Ellsbury (5 hits in last 2 games) and we all hope Mike Napoli can get back into some hitters counts to see what he does with the next fastball he knows is coming! Xander Bogaerts is in the lineup again tonight after he doubled in the key 2nd inning Thursday night, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back in there and trying to stay hot after his game winning hit in Game 3 and 2 hits in Game 4.
Opposing the Tigers’ Ace du Jour tonight will be Clay Buchholz, who will do his best to avoid an inning like the 6th inning nightmare of Game 2 where he surrendered 4 runs, allowing 2 home runs and 2 doubles. The Sox right-hander looks to get back to first half of the season form where he shot out to a 9-0 mark before that unfortunate nap with his daughter landed him on the DL.
So, buckle up Sox Nation, tonight should be a tense ride. With the exception of the Tigers’ 7-3 win in Game 4, each game in this series has been a nail biter dominated by pitching and timely hitting. Let’s hope that we get to see Koji Uehara on the mound in the 9th and shortly thereafter over the back of Big Papi slapping one another on the behind.
– The Red Sox are 9-3 all-time in the sixth game of a postseason series, including 5-0 at home. The club is 5-0 all-time in the sixth game of an ALCS, with two of those games at Fenway (1986, 2007). This is the first time in the club’s 10 ALCS that Boston has held a 3-2 lead after five games.
– The Red Sox bullpen has allowed just one run in 17 innings over the first five games of the ALCS (0.53 ERA).