Sunday, October 13, 2013

ALCS Game 2 Preview

Game 2: Clay Buchholz vs. Max Scherzer

After a hard-fought battle last night in which the Tigers finally prevailed by a score of 1-0, both teams view game 2 as decisive in the series. The Tigers have the opportunity to take a commanding 2-0 in the series while the Red Sox look to tie the series 1-1 before the series goes to Detroit for games 3 and 4. On paper, the pitching matchup in game 2 could be even better than the one in game 1, which is incredibly hard to believe after witnessing the dominance the Tigers pitchers showed last night. Sanchez was masterful in his 6 innings pitched, striking out 12 while no-hitting the Sox lineup. Sanchez ran into trouble with his pitch count, throwing 116 pitches in just 6 innings, which explains why Jim Leyland had to pull him early. Leyland left the game in the capable hands of the Tigers pen, who held the Sox hitless until the 9th inning when Daniel Nava finally hit a bloop single into center. It was just the 2nd time in MLB history that a no-hitter was broken up in the 9th inning of a playoff game. Although they ended up losing the game, the Red Sox held the potent Tigers offense to just 1 run and despite only getting 1 hit in the game, the Red Sox offense certainly had opportunities to score runs, specifically in the 6th inning where they loaded the bases with just 1 out, only to have consecutive batters fall victim to Sanchez's nasty slider. Now, onto game 2. Scherzer is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young and Buchholz would have certainly been in the conversation had he been healthy the entire season. Buchholz was 12-1 in his 16 starts with a 1.59 ERA which would have easily won the ERA title had he thrown more innings. Instead Buchholz was plagued by injuries and only threw 108 innings this season. Scherzer, on the other hand, pitched an entire season for the Tigers and racked up 21 wins to accompany his 2.90 ERA. Both offenses struggled in game 1 of the series so it's likely that runs will be hard to come by for a second straight game.

Prediction- The winner of this game will be whoever can run up the opposing pitcher's pitch count earlier. This is a specialty of the Red Sox which will bode well for them. 2-1 Red Sox.

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