Red Sox and Tigers in Crucial Game Five Tonight

The Detroit Tigers have tied the best-of-seven series with the Boston Red Sox for the American League Championship at two games apiece behind another stellar starting pitching performance. This time it was Doug Fister who led the Tigers to a 7-3 win in Game Four at Comerica Park on Wednesday by shutting the Sox out for the first five innings while his teammates staked him to an early 5-0 lead. The Sox have yet to score in the first five innings of any game in the series so far and are really lucky they have not been swept.

The Sox rallied from a 5-0 deficit and trailed 5-1 going into the bottom of the eighth in Game Two before a David Ortiz grand slam tied that game. They won Game Three on a Mike Napoli solo home run to win that one 1-0. Both of those games could easily have been won by the Tigers. Tonight though, the Sox can get back to Fenway Park needing only one of two to win the American League Pennant and go on to the World Series.

As for Detroit, it is funny how a little thing like shuffling the batting order can wake up a team. Their manager Jim Leyland moved Miguel Cabrera up to the number two spot and put Torii Hunter at lead off. Austin Jackson was moved down to eighth in the order and it worked, because they erupted for five runs in the second inning to take command of the game. In fairness to Boston starter Jake Peavy, the second should have ended with only one run scoring. Dustin Pedroia muffed a double play grounder that should have ended the inning but instead made it 2-0 and kept the inning going for Hunter to hit a big two-run double.

Now with the series knotted at two games each, the Sox will send Game One starter Jon Lester to the mound to oppose Detroit’s Game One starter in Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez no-hit the Sox for six innings in the first game of the series in Boston. The combined no-hit bid was not broken up until one out in the bottom of the ninth inning on a single by Daniel Nava. The Tigers won that game 1-0. The two had very similar numbers during the season as Lester was 15-8 with 3.75 ERA and Sanchez was 14-8 with a 2.57. The Tigers have to feel good about their chances with Sanchez going tonight after he stifled the Sox offense in the first game. Other than Papi’s slam, they have not seemed to recover this entire series.

BetOnline has odds on the game: Detroit and Boston are each -105. The Over/Under is 7.5 with over +100 and under -120. We are going to go with Boston -105 in this game. The odds are Sanchez is going to give up some hits in his two starts and since he hasn’t yet, look for a bunch of them to come all at once. We like the under -120 as well. These two combined for only one run the last time this pitching match-up faced off.

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