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Detroit Tigers Bullpen
Closer: Joaquin Benoit
Setup: Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque, Rick Porcello
Relievers: Jose Veras, Jose Alvarez, Phil Coke
The Tigers know how important it is for their starters to work deep into games so they don't have to rely heavily on the bullpen, which is easily the weakest part of their roster. The Red Sox can drive a pitch count up quickly, having the third fewest swings on pitches out of the zone (28.2 percent).
Joaquin Benoit is the best reliever the Tigers have, equally effective at getting out right- and left-handed hitters. I would be shocked if he only gets into three games this series, both because the Tigers need him and there probably won't be a lot of complete games from the starting staff.
Drew Smyly will also be relied on heavily because of his ability to dominate left-handed hitters. That's not to say he's chopped liver against righties, because he can get them out too, but his main task will be getting out Ortiz and Ellsbury.
The rest of the group is basically only to be used if the starters fail to go six innings. Alburquerque is a let-it-fly pitcher who can miss bats (70 in 49 innings) or walk the bases loaded (73 baserunners allowed).
Alvarez is the other lefty in the 'pen, though he also gave up seven home runs in 38.2 innings. Veras is a nice piece to have in relief, but not someone you want to throw in a high-leverage spot late in a game.
Boston Red Sox Bullpen
Closer: Koji Uehara
Setup: Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow
Relievers: Brandon Workman, Franklin Morales, Felix Doubront
Koji Uehara did prove to be human in the ALDS when he gave up a walk-off home run to Jose Lobaton in Game 3. Of course, that was the only hit he gave up in three innings as he struck out four with no walks.
He's a freak with impeccable command of everything and a splitter you can't touch when he's on top of it, which is 99 percent of the time.
Tazawa is a guy who works within the zone so much that he can rack up strikeouts (72 in 68.1 innings) but will also give up a lot of hits (70) and home runs (nine).
I don't know what to make of Breslow. He's gotten by this season with the worst strikeout rate of his career (5.0 per nine innings) and best BABIP since 2009 (.254). Sometimes guys just have a season like that, though I can see a game where it all comes crashing down on him.
Workman is better served in a relief role, though the small sample size of 23.1 innings shows the opposite. He misses bats but has also allowed 1.7 baserunners per inning.
Morales and Doubront are erratic more often than not, though I don't anticipate them seeing much time in this series unless a game gets out of hand one way or another.
Neither 'pen is great, so when things are so close, always go with the better closer.
Advantage: Boston Red Sox