The Red Sox will play the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS Game 1 tonight. Admittedly, I hoped that it would be Oakland because the pitching was a bit weaker and it would have been fun to play against former Red Sox players. I fear Detroit. They won 4 of the 7 games the Sox played during the regular season. We have beaten them soundly 10-6 and 20-4. While on other days, their pitchers got the best of us. For me, games won all depend on a strong lineup. Why? The Tigers have a great lineup, too.
Our defense has been strong. We turned enough double plays in Game 4 of the ALDS to impress me. It really isn’t defense for the Sox that has me concerned; balls get in from the outfield. Stephen Drew has been great on the shifts and as cut-off man.
The offense would be where I would focus my attention if I were John Farrell. One option would be to have Mike Napoli sit because he has been in a slump. I believe he walked at least once in the last game. I don’t know why he was so happy during the ALDS champagne celebration. I definitely see some major platooning and pinch hitting happening in this series. I look to players like Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp as part of the platoon. They have not had consistent playing time in the seven games the Sox had against Detroit. In one or two games, Carp and Gomes scored some runs, 2 or 3 here and there. Xander Bogaerts may be another possibility as pinch hitter, or runner in later innings. Consistent producers like Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, if they continue with solid placement, and “small ball” tactics, would get Bogaerts in scoring position. The more I look at the numbers, the more worried I become. The other side of me is optimistic. The Red Sox, and the fans, overcame a great many obstacles this season. This is just one more hurdle that the team must clear.
I am very excited for the weekend games. How do you feel about the ALCS and the Red Sox’ chances?