Tigers plan to use former Red Sox prospect Anibal Sanchez in Game 1

October 10, 2013 - 9:28 pm

After his team won its best-of-five American League Division Series with a 3-0 victory in the winner-take-all Game 5, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that right-hander Anibal Sanchez -- the former Red Sox prospect who had a 14-8 record and AL-leading 2.57 ERA in 29 starts spanning 182 innings -- would be the team's Game 1 starter against the Red Sox in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series that starts on Saturday. "It is Sanchez in Game 1," Leyland told reporters in Oakland. Sanchez permitted six runs (five earned) while striking out six and walking two in absorbing a loss in Game 2 of the ALDS against Oakland. However, he made had a 1.77 ERA with 18 punchouts and six walks in 20 1/3 postseason innings spanning three starts for the Tigers last October. Sanchez did not face the Sox during the regular season in 2013. He's faced the team that signed him out of Venezuela just once, allowing seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in 2006 as a member of the Marlins, the season after he'd been traded with Hanley Ramirez and two other minor leaguers for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. With Sanchez starting Game 1, it would seem likely that the Tigers will feature Sanchez, Max Scherzer (who started Game 1 of the ALDS and then relieved in Game 4), Justin Verlander (who fired eight shutout innings of two-hit ball in Game 5 of his ALDS series on Thursday) in Game 3 and then Doug Fister in Game 4. Leyland, in the immediate aftermath of his team's victory, spoke highly of the Sox. "If you watch the Red Sox, they have a tough club: [Dustin] Pedroia, [Jacoby] Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, Big Papi [David Ortiz]," said Leyland. "I'm not saying they're tougher than Oakland. I'm saying they're a more veteran team. Oakland is a younger club. We're going to Boston and we'll see how this all plays out."