Results tagged ‘ Boston Red Sox ’
When the American League Championship Series began, the Detroit Tigers were considered to be slight underdogs. It wasn’t at all surprising, especially since the New York Yankees had home-field advantage. Unfortunately for their sake, they were unable to win either of their first two games at Yankee Stadium, as they now head to Detroit down 2-0 in the series.
As the Tigers return to the friendly confines of Comerica Park, they find themselves in an excellent position to win the ALCS, and represent the American League in the World Series. In fact, of the last 22 teams that led a LCS 2-0, 19 of them have made it to the World Series. Better yet, the Tigers have Justin Verlander pitching game three.
If Detroit can take a 3-0 series lead, they will have all but sealed their ticket to the Fall Classic. Only one team has ever came back from a three-game deficit in a LCS series, and that was when Boston Red Sox came back to defeat the Yankees in 2004. Although it’s not impossible, it’s definitely against the odds.
First and foremost, the Tigers need to win tonight and take further control of the series.
The Tigers have been on a downward spiral the last week, losing five of their last seven games. When Rick Porcello takes the mound tonight against the Red Sox, the Tigers need to find a way to get back to their winning ways.
Entering the game, the Tigers find themselves three games back of the first place Chicago White Sox. Although it’s by no means an insurmountable number, you don’t want to find yourself trailing by more than five games entering September. As long as they can keep pace with the White Sox, they should certainly find themselves fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
In an attempt to shake things up, the Tigers are now going to have Brennan Boesch hitting fifth in the lineup instead of Delmon Young. During the month of July, Boesch hit .295 with a .538 slugging percentage. By comparison, Young hit for a disappointing .250 average and a .417 slugging percentage during that same time. If Boesch can keep that production level during August, it should lead to more runs being scored.
If that doesn’t work, don’t be surprised if the Tigers attempt to make a move through waivers, similar to how they acquired Young last year. When you have Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the heart of your lineup, there’s no reason why the Tigers shouldn’t be scoring more runs. Of course you can’t put all of the blame on the lineup, as Detroit’s starting pitchers have also struggled in the last few weeks.
For the 2012 season, the Tigers rotation has struggled to show signs of consistency. In fact, the Tigers starting pitchers have an ERA of 4.19 on the year, which ranks them 21st in all of Major League Baseball.
Of course the hope is that acquiring Anibal Sanchez will help strengthen their rotation, but if the Tigers want to make it back to the playoffs, their starting pitchers have to do better. There’s still plenty of baseball left to be played, and plenty of time to turn it around.
The first half of the baseball season has been anything but predictable. So here’s a few things that have surprised me this year, and my thoughts on whether or not they’ll continue.
After 77 games, the Tigers find themselves three games under .500, and five games back of the White Sox. Almost every single person who works for the media expected the Tigers to run away with their division. Well, that’s still not the case. Will the Tigers be able to turn it around in time to make the playoffs? Yes, I believe they’ll win the division, but it’ll be a lot closer than everyone expected.
R.A. Dickey is leading Major League Baseball with 12 wins, and even though he’s the feel good story, nobody expecting the New York Mets knuckleballer to be this dominant in 2012. Dickey recorded his 12th win of the year yesterday, and aside from one bad start against the Yankees, he’s been nearly unhittable. I think he’s pitched enough this year to prove it’s not a fluke. He should be in talks for the NL Cy Young Award, and he absolutely deserves it.
The Baltimore Orioles are in second place in the AL East, the toughest division in all of baseball. Equally impressive is the fact that no team in the AL East is currently below .500, making the Orioles looking more like contenders than pretenders. The thing that scares me most, is the fact that the Orioles have allowed 16 more runs than they have scored, whereas the third place Boston Red Sox have scored 56 more runs than they have allowed. Unfortunately, I think the Orioles will be lucky to find themselves playing for anything besides the final Wild Card spot this year.
Mike Trout was expected to be a star player for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but I don’t think anyone expected him to come out as strong as he has. Trout is hitting an astonishing .342 while stealing 22 bases. If he continues to put up numbers like that, he’ll not only find himself with the AL Rookie of the Year Award, but possibly the Most Valuable Player, too. At this point, it’s hard to root against the guy, although I imagine his batting average will drop at least 20-30 points before is all said and done. Oh yeah, he can play defense, too.
Down one run in the ninth inning with the tying run on second base, Miguel Cabrera came up to bat. Cabrera didn’t miss the pitch, and sent what proved to be a game winning two-run home run.
Not only did the home run give the Tigers the win, but allowed the Tigers to bust out the brooms for only the third time this year. The last time being when they swept the Kansas City Royals back in the middle of April.
Looking back on the last few games, the most important factor was the fact the Tigers offense seems to be getting into a good rhythm. In the last three games, the Tigers have combined for 40 hits and 24 runs. I’m not saying I expect them to continue at that pace, but it’s something we should be more than able to do from time to time.
The real test for the Tigers will be their upcoming stretch of games, where they’ll go to Boston for a four-game series against the Red Sox, and then host the New York Yankees for three games. Good teams should be able to beat under-performing teams like the Twins, but playoff teams are able to compete against every team. In the next week, we should get a better idea of what this team is really made of. You know I’ll be watching, and you should be, too.
In what was one of the worst collapses in the history of Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox ended up missing the playoffs in 2011. They got rid of their manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein, but will that make a big enough difference to get them into the playoffs in 2012?
Before the season started, expectations were at an all time high for the Red Sox, as they seemed to have media attention for all of the wrong reasons. There were allegations that players weren’t trying, and that pitchers were in the clubhouse drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games, rather than supporting their team.
The Red Sox vowed to put that all behind them, and they entered the 2012 season with as much potential and talent as any team in Major League Baseball. When it was announced that Carl Crawford was going to start the year on the disabled list, the Fenway Faithful weren’t thrilled. Next thing you know, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury gets injured early in the season with a partially-dislocated shoulder. Suddenly, the Red Sox don’t look nearly as good as they did a few months ago.
All hope is certainly not lost for the Red Sox, as they still have such star players as David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, who are both coming over quality seasons. The biggest factor in whether or not the Red Sox will make it into the playoffs this year will not be their offense, but a question of how well their pitchers will be able to perform.
Early in the season, the Red Sox starting rotation has the second highest ERA of all teams in Major League Baseball, only trailing that of the Minnesota Twins. It’s going to be difficult for the Red Sox to win a lot of games if they’re giving up seven runs a game. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll continue to go at that rate, though.
There’s at least two guys in Boston’s rotation that will more than likely turn around their seasons, and that would be Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. Beckett and Lester are two pitchers with well-above average pitchers with proven track records. Even if Beckett and Lester can find ways to turn it around, can the bullpen find a way to hold a lead?
After losing Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the Athletics, only to have him end up on disabled list, too. Seeing as he’s likely to miss over half the season, it’s hard to expect to get any significant playing time from him. The Red Sox don’t currently have a lot of backup options when it comes to closers, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a move at the trade deadline to acquire one.
With all of that being said, I just think this isn’t the year for the Red Sox. They’re dealing with too many changes, too many injuries and I don’t think they’ll necessarily have what it takes to beat the Yankees or Rays in the AL East. At best, the Red Sox will have a chance to compete for one of the two Wild Card spots, but I can’t see them doing much better than that.
Fun fact: In 1903, the Boston Americans (now Red Sox) won the first ever World Series, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 1903 World Series was a best out of nine format, in which the Boston won five games against three for Pittsburgh.