Tied 2-2, the American League Championship Series will feature its final game in Detroit’s Comerica Park tonight.
The Tigers' Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 4.35) faces Boston’s Jon Lester (1-1, 1.93) in a rematch of Game 1, in which Sanchez out-dueled Boston’s veteran southpaw. Here are five questions for the Tigers in the all-important Game 5:
Is Action Jackson back?
After a 2-for-2 performance with two walks, the Tigers slugger is back in the eighth spot in Detroit’s batting order. Could yesterday’s performance be an indicator of Jackson’s turnaround?
Which Anibal Sanchez comes to play?
It’s no secret that good pitching is key in the playoffs. Anibal Sanchez’ two outings have been prime examples of its importance. After getting roughed-up for eight hits and five runs in a 6-3 loss to Oakland in Game 3 of the ALDS, Sanchez delivered six no-hit innings with 12 strikeouts in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Sanchez’ performance, as those of the other Detroit starters, is paramount.
Can the bullpen find consistency?
After another mediocre performance in which Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit allowed a combined two runs on four hits in three innings of relief in Wednesday’s Game 4, the reliability of the Tigers bullpen remains in question. Expect righty Jose Veras to pitch at some point tonight as Tigers manager Jim Leyland continues to use his relievers batter-by-batter.
How healthy is Miguel Cabrera?
With a 2-for-4 performance last night, a stolen base and two RBIs, the health of the Tigers slugger appears to be improving. Although Tigers manager Jim Leyland has repeatedly said Cabrera won’t be back to one-hundred percent for the rest of the season, Cabrera’s two hits last night were his most in any game this postseason.
Will Jhonny Peralta rebound?
After being held hitless Wednesday for the first time in seven games, Jhonny Peralta’s team-high average of .417 fell to .357, second behind Victor Martinez. Peralta had two hits in three at-bats against Jon Lester in Game 1.
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