1. Keep the momentum on their side with a Game 3 win in ALCS
After struggling to get their offense going in Game 1 and against Max Scherzer in Game 2 of the ALCS, the Red Sox finally came to life, as they plated five runs in the final two innings of Game 2 to even the series heading back to Detroit.
They'll now face a red-hot Justin Verlander, who's pitching like the Verlander of old in October, having allowed just six hits while striking out 21 in 15 scoreless innings during the Tigers' ALDS matchup with the Oakland A's.
John Lackey takes the mound in Game 3 for the Red Sox, and while he put up significantly better numbers at home this season (6-3, 2.47 ERA) than on the road (4-10, 4.48 ERA), he did allow just two runs in seven innings of work in his lone start at Comerica Park this year. The momentum is on the Red Sox's side right now, and they'll need to keep that going in Detroit.
2. Get things going offensively
Through the first 16 innings of their ALCS matchup with the Tigers, the Red Sox went a dismal 4-for-51 (.078 BA) at the plate, but they finally broke through with five hits over the final two innings on Sunday night, scoring five runs in the process.
During the regular season, Boston's 853 runs scored topped all of baseball—a full 57 runs more than the second-place Tigers in that category—as the Red Sox employed a relentless attack from top to bottom in their lineup.
With easily the weakest pitching staff of the four remaining postseason teams, the Red Sox will rely on their offense more than any other club. They need to build off of Game 2, not just with the momentum, but specifically from an offensive standpoint.
3. Get a great start out of someone not named Jon Lester
The Red Sox starting rotation may not stack up to the rest of the field, but it is an experienced veteran group and all four pitchers are capable of pitching like a staff ace when they're on.
Jon Lester has filled the role of ace so far, and while he's 1-1 in his two starts, he's allowed just nine hits and three runs in 14 innings of work.
Clay Buchholz pitched well in Game 3 of the ALDS, but he was hit hard on Sunday night. John Lackey and Jake Peavy enjoyed varying levels of success in their ALDS outings, but neither made it out of the sixth inning in their starts.
The other three teams left in the postseason each have more than one starter capable of going out and giving their clubs a complete-game gem. The Red Sox are going to need someone to step up and serve as a second ace behind Lester if they hope to contend for a title.
4. Turn things over to the bullpen after seven innings with a lead
Looking back at point No. 3 on this list, while a shutout would certainly be welcome from one of their starters, all that the Red Sox really need is for guys to throw seven strong innings before turning things over to their bullpen for the final two frames.
During the regular season, the setup duo of Craig Breslow (61 G, 1.81 ERA) and Junichi Tazawa (71 G, 3.16 ERA) was among the best in the league. Closer Koji Uehara (73 G, 1.09 ERA) was arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball this season.
That trio has combined to allow just seven hits and one run so far this postseason in 12.2 innings of work, with the lone blip being the walk-off home run that Uehara allowed to Jose Lobaton in the ALDS. He looked sharp on Sunday though, and if the Red Sox can carry a lead into the eighth inning, things seem to be in good hands.