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

October 17, 2013 - 6:01 am

The Red Sox look to regain control of the American League Championship Series on Thursday night, as Jon Lester and the Sox will face off against Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers in Game 5 of the ALCS at Comerica Park. After three straight close games that were decided by only one run, Game 4 finally featured some offense from both teams, as the Tigers scored seven runs off of Boston starter Jake Peavy. The Boston bats also finally made an appearance, as the Sox recorded 12 hits in the contest. Despite collecting as many hits in Game 4 as they did in Games 1-3 combined, the Sox only managed to score three runs, thanks in large part to the team going 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position. By the time the game had ended and the Tigers secured the 7-3 victory, Boston had stranded 10 men on base. The Sox offense will hope to score more runs on Thursday in support of Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA), who did not receive any help from the offense during his first ALCS start on Saturday in Game 1 of the series. Lester was great in the series opener, as he only allowed one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. Lester has proven himself in October, as he holds a career record of 3-4 with a 2.41 ERA in 10 postseason games. Despite Lester's strong performance, Sanchez, the starter for Detroit in Game 1, was just a little bit better. Sanchez held the Red Sox hitless through six innings, as the Tigers took Game 1 by a score of 1-0. The Boston offense was nowhere to be found in the contest, as the Sox collected their first hit of the game with one out in the ninth inning. '€œWhether it was Sanchez or every guy they brought out of the bullpen, it was power stuff,'€  Boston manager John Farrell said after the game. "They executed well. But there might have been a couple of pitches that were pitchers' pitches that seemed to go against us.'€ Sanchez (14-8, 2.57 ERA) showed in his Game 1 start just exactly why he led the American League in ERA this season, as he kept the potent Sox lineup off balance for six strong innings. It was a bit of an odd start for Sanchez, as the former Sox prospect did not allow a hit and struck out 12 but also walked six. Acquired in a trade from the Marlins in 2012, Sanchez has been a welcome edition to the Detroit pitching rotation, as the 29-year-old righty has a record of 18-14 with a 3.16 ERA in 1 1/2 seasons with the Tigers. It was apparent in Game 1 that the Sox batters were unfamiliar with Sanchez, as the last time that Sanchez faced off against Boston before Saturday was back on July 1, 2006. In that appearance, Sanchez was shelled, giving up seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Red Sox vs. Sanchez (RHP)  Shane Victorino (50 plate appearances): .217 BA/.280 OBP/.304 SLG, 1 home run, 9 strikeouts Stephen Drew (26): .227/.308/.318, 1 triple, 3 RBIs David Ross (14): .167/.286/.417, 1 home run, 2 RBIs David Ortiz (6): .500/.500/1.667, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs Jonny Gomes (5): .250/.400/.500, 1 double, 1 walk Jacoby Ellsbury (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Mike Napoli (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Daniel Nava (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (3): .000/.667/.000, 2 walks Will Middlebrooks (2): .000/.000/.000 Quintin Berry, Xander Bogaerts, Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have not faced Sanchez. Tigers vs. Lester (LHP) Torii Hunter (35 plate appearances): .394 BA/.429 OBP/.576 SLG, 3 doubles, 4 RBIs Jhonny Peralta (35): .333/.429/.633 SLG, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs Miguel Cabrera (27): .524/.630/.762, 1 home run, 6 walks Prince Fielder (19): .294/.368/.294, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts Victor Martinez (19): .353/.421/.647, 1 home run, 3 RBIs Austin Jackson (18): .294/.333/.353, 1 double, 3 strikeouts Brayan Pena (17): .412/.412/.471, 1 double, 4 RBIs Alex Avila (9): .444/.444/.556, 1 double, 3 strikeouts Omar Infante (9): .222/.222/.222, 2 singles, 1 strikeout Jose Iglesias (6): .200/.333/.400, 1 double, 2 strikeouts Andy Dirks (3): .500/.667/2.000, 1 home run, 1 RBI Ramon Santiago (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Don Kelly and Hernan Perez have not faced Lester.