MLB Playoff Schedule 2013: Last-Minute Previews for Saturday's ALDS Games
Pitching wins championships. It's that easy.
Jon Lester and Max Scherzer backed up that belief with their Game 1 performances in the ALDS.
In the Boston Red Sox's 12-2 demolition of the Tampa Bay Rays, Lester gave up two runs on three hits in 7.2 innings and struck out seven. Scherzer responded by going seven strong in the Detroit Tigers' 3-2 win over the Oakland A's. He had 11 strikeouts, while allowing two runs on three hits.
It doesn't look like things will change too much on Saturday, either. All four teams have very good starting pitchers taking the mound, so settle in and prepare to watch some gems.
Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
When: 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
Pitching Matchup: David Price (Rays) vs. John Lackey (Red Sox)
Luckily for the Rays, runs don't carry over. Losing 12-2 stings, but you can forget about it the next day and focus on evening the series.
Wil Myers stole the headlines in Game 1, with his gaffe in the outfield symbolizing what was a listless performance from the Rays. Matt Moore was off his game, and his offense gave him little help.
Lester was filthy for Boston and remained composed after allowing Tampa to take a 2-0 lead. It was easy with the run support he got. Every Red Sox batter got a hit, while all but two recorded an RBI. It was a complete performance from Boston. When it plays that well, there isn't another team better.
The Rays will be countering with David Price in Game 2. He's the perfect guy to try and right things for Tampa Bay. He's the ace of the staff and has a good record against the Sox. Price went 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts in the regular season. Fenway Park has become almost a second home for him, with Price sporting an impressive 6-1 career record in Boston.
Tampa has given John Lackey a lot of problems this season. In two starts, he's surrendered nine earned runs in 10 innings. However, Lackey has been a much better pitcher in Fenway Park than he has away from home, so something's gotta give on Saturday.
Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics
When: 9 p.m. ET
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland
Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (Tigers) vs. Sonny Gray (A's)
While it might only be Game 2, this is pretty much a must-win for Oakland. It's bad enough the A's have already given up home-field advantage. They cannot go into Detroit in an 0-2 hole. It will be hard enough winning one game in Comerica Park, let alone two.
If Oakland is going to pick up the victory, they'll have to find some bats. Yoenis Cespedes is the only hitter who stepped up on Friday night. He had a triple and a two-run home run. Brandon Moss was the only other Athletics player who recorded a hit.
It certainly won't be easy. Justin Verlander is going for Detroit, and while he had a bit of a down regular season, you'd expect Verlander to turn it on in the postseason. He was 1-1 against Oakland this season, with a 3.27 ERA.
This is the first time Sonny Gray has faced off against the Tigers. He's been pretty consistent since becoming a starter in August. And as Gerrit Cole has demonstrated in the NLDS, being a rookie doesn't have to be a hindrance in the postseason.
Much like Game 1, this looks like it will be another pitcher's duel, with the slightest error possibly swinging the game in a big way.
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