Tonight, the 2013 American League Championship Series will kick off at Fenway Park, as the Boston Red Sox get set to host the Detroit Tigers for Game 1.
For both teams, the road to get here hasn't been easy, as the Red Sox withstood a gutsy effort from the Tampa Bay Rays while the Tigers staved off elimination by defeating the Oakland A's on the road in Game 5 of their ALDS showdown.
Heading into what's sure to be a very entertaining series, here's a look at everything you need to know in order to catch the action live.
|Game (*If necessary)||Matchup||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|1||Tigers at Red Sox||Saturday, Oct. 12||8:07 p.m.||FOX|
|2||Tigers at Red Sox||Sunday, Oct. 13||8:15 p.m.||FOX|
|3||Red Sox at Tigers||Tuesday, Oct. 15||4:07 p.m.||FOX|
|4||Red Sox at Tigers||Wednesday, Oct. 16||8:07 p.m.||FOX|
|5*||Red Sox at Tigers||Thursday, Oct. 17||8:07 p.m.||FOX|
|6*||Tigers at Red Sox||Saturday, Oct. 19||4:37 p.m. (moved to 8:07 p.m. if NLCS does not go to Game 7)||FOX|
|7*||Tigers at Red Sox||Sunday Oct. 20||8:07 p.m.||FOX|
How Boston Wins
First and foremost, for the Red Sox, one of the biggest points of emphasis defensively has to be containing Miguel Cabrera and doing their best to minimize his impact on the series.
Thus far in this postseason, Cabrera hasn't exactly been the dominant hitter that he was during the regular season, but as the undisputed best hitter in baseball, everyone knows that this can change in an instant.
If the Red Sox can manage Cabrera, the next key will be to stay with the Tigers until the later stages of games. As great as Detroit's starting rotation is, their bullpen is almost equally as suspect at times.
Furthermore, if the Red Sox continue to get clutch contributions from Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, Boston will be in good shape to win this series.
How Detroit Wins
If the Tigers can get more pop offensively, they'll be in this series, but otherwise, this team will struggle to keep pace with Boston's array of potent offensive weapons.
In addition, the pitching matchup on paper clearly favors the Tigers, so if Detroit's rotation does what's expected of them, they should be able to silence the Red Sox from the mound.
The Red Sox are a team that feeds off momentum in huge amounts, so if Detroit can jump out to an early lead, on the road no less, the Tigers could make this a short series.
If not, one can't discount the possibility of Boston continuing to build confidence and offensively overpowering the Tigers.
Detroit's staff is good enough to win this series on its own, but after a grueling series with Oakland, whether they're well-rested enough to do so remains to be seen.
I think Boston continues its inspired ride through the postseason and takes both games at home but drops Game 3 with Justin Verlander on the mound.
But the Red Sox have heart and proven postseason performers in the form of Ellsbury, Victorino, David Ortiz (two homers in the ALDS) and Dustin Pedroia, and they'll rally back to take Games 4 and 5 to advance to the World Series for the first time since 2007.
Boston 4, Detroit 1