The Boston Red Sox found a way to out duel a Detroit Tigers squad that has made headlines for its gritty efforts on the mound this October in a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night. The win earned Boston a 2-1 lead in the ALCS and has them just two wins away from a return to the World Series.
In theory, the Red Sox next home game could be in the World series. With Tuesday being the first of three straight games in Detroit, a perfect road trip would earn the Sox the win without any need to bring the Tigers back to Fenway.
Justin Verlander took the mound for the Tigers in Comerica Park, delivering the type of quality outing the fans have come to expect from their ace and 2011 AL MVP winner. The problem for Detroit was that Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lackey produced a more effective night.
Verlander shut down the Red Sox batters as all Detroit starters have so far in this series. A scoreless ball game in the seventh inning, Verlander remained on the mound after registering a quality start in the first six frames. That’s when Mike Napoli shocked the hometown fans with a home run that put up the single run that would cross the plate for the Red Sox.
Lackey went 6.2 innings against the Tigers, striking out 8 and allowing just 4 hits without any walks. Stellar performance from a man who downplayed his accomplishments after earning the win.
“Pretty big one, I guess,” Lackey said in his postgame interview.”I knew I was going to have to pitch pretty good.”
Although he glared at manager John Farrell as he was pulled from the game with one out to go in the seventh and a runner on first base, Lackey has to acknowledge that his manager made a good decision given that the bullpen continued the shutout that he worked so hard to start.
The Red Sox pitching has been on par with the Tigers in this series thus far, although it has earned almost no headlines. Funny how that works.
Winning tends to change things like that however, and with a dominant pitching victory like Boston just earned over Detroit, one can expect to see the media coverage shift back towards neutrality when it comes to the pitching battle.
The next two games will be in Detroit, with a return to Boston for games 6 and 7 if needed.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express