Saturday's Red Sox-Tigers ALCS matchups: Jon Lester vs. Anibal Sanchez

October 12, 2013 - 5:52 am
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The Red Sox will kick off their fifth American League Championship Series in the last 11 seasons on Saturday night, as Jon Lester and the Sox will face off against the Tigers and Anibal Sanchez in Game 1 at Fenway Park. Boston advanced to the ALCS after disposing of the Rays in four games in the American League Division Series. While both Games 3 and 4 of the ALDS were close contests, Boston outscored Tampa 26-12 in the series. The Red Sox trailed in the late innings of Game 4 but were able to erase a one-run deficit in the seventh inning thanks to wild pitch from Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta and an RBI infield single from Shane Victorino. After Boston added an insurance run in the ninth inning, Koji Uehara closed out the game, allowing the Sox to move on to the ALCS for the first time since 2008. The Tigers advanced to the ALCS after a hard-fought series against the A's. In the deciding fifth game of the series, Justin Verlander did not allow a run over eight innings while striking out 10 Oakland batters. This is the third straight season in which the Tigers have made it to the ALCS. Detroit had the edge over Boston during the regular season, winning four of the seven contests. While the Tigers finished the season with 93 wins, they slumped to the finish, accumulating a 25-24 record over their last 49 games of the regular season. Lester was stellar in Game 1 of the ALDS, allowing only three hits and two earned runs over 7 2/3 innings. Lester has proven track record during the postseason, as he is 3-3 with a 2.54 ERA in seven career playoff games. '€œJust being involved in more playoff games at a younger age, you, through experience, learn how to handle these situations,'€ Lester said after the 12-2 Boston victory. '€œAnd a perfect example is today. As long as I kept them close enough, our guys were going to figure out [Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore], and we were able to do that.'€ Despite his great postseason numbers, Lester likely is not looking forward to facing Detroit's potent lineup, as he has had trouble against the Tigers in the past. In seven career starts, Lester is 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA. Sanchez had great success in his first full season with Detroit, as he led the AL in ERA (2.57) and finished sixth in the league in strikeouts (202). However, his first start of the 2013 postseason was a far cry from his stellar regular-season numbers, as he surrendered five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in Game 3 of the ALDS. A former Boston minor league prospect who was sent to the Marlins along with Hanley Ramirez in 2005 for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, Sanchez has built a solid career for himself, with a 62-59 record and a 3.55 ERA. Sanchez has only pitched against Boston for a total of 4 1/3 innings in his career, as he allowed seven earned runs in his only appearance against the Red Sox. Tigers vs. Lester (LHP) Jhonny Peralta (30 plate appearances): .280 BA/.400 OBP/.560 SLG, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs Miguel Cabrera (24): .526/.625/.789, 1 home run, 3 RBIs Torii Hunter (23): .478/.478/.609, 3 doubles, 3 strikeouts Brayan Pena (17): .412/.412/.471, 1 double, 4 RBIs Prince Fielder (16): .267/.313/.267, 4 singles, 1 RBI Austin Jackson (15): .286/.333/.357, 1 double, 2 strikeouts Victor Martinez (15): .462/.533/.846, 1 home run, 3 RBIs Alex Avila (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI Omar Infante (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 singles Andy Dirks (3): .500/.667/2.000, 1 home run, 1 RBI Jose Iglesias (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 strikeouts Ramon Santiago (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Don Kelly and Hernan Perez have not faced Lester. Red Sox vs. Sanchez (RHP)  Shane Victorino (47 plate appearances): .233 BA/.298 OBP/.326 SLG, 1 home run, 7 strikeouts Stephen Drew (20): .278/.300/.389, 1 triple, 3 RBIs David Ross (12): .182/.250/.455, 1 home run, 2 RBIs Jonny Gomes (5): .250/.400/.500, 1 double, 1 walk David Ortiz (3): 1.000/1.000/3.333, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs Quintin Berry, Xander Bogaerts, Mike Carp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have not faced Sanchez.

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