alcs preview


The matchup: These charter American League members have never met in the postseason. Boston (97-65), in its first year under manager John Farrell, finished with the AL’s best record for its first playoff berth since 2009. Detroit (93-69) is in its third ALCS in a row under Jim Leyland. These teams were involved in one of the most significant trades of the year, a three-team deal with the White Sox that sent Jake Peavy to Boston and Jose Iglesias to Detroit. The Tigers took three of four at home against Boston in June, then the Red Sox won two of three in the rematch in early September.

Key stat: Boston led the majors with 853 runs and Detroit was second at 796.

About the Red Sox: Boston was successful on 86.6 percent of stolen base attempts, the best in AL history since baseball started keeping track in the 1920s. The Red Sox were successful on their final 39 tries in the regular season and went 6-for-7 in the ALDS, when they beat Tampa Bay in four games. … David Ortiz, the only player left from Boston’s 2004 championship team, is 3-for-3 with two homers against Anibal Sanchez. He also has three homers off Max Scherzer and two off Justin Verlander. … Koji Uehera was lights out as Boston closer, and though the 38-year-old gave up a winning homer to the Rays in Game 3, he bounced back with a four-out save in Game 4.

About the Tigers: Detroit trailed Oakland 3-0 in Game 4 of the Division Series but came back behind Jhonny Peralta’s three-run homer. Peralta, activated for the playoffs after serving a 50-game suspension, hit .417 in the series with five RBI, and he started Game 5 at Oakland at shortstop over the slumping Iglesias. … Miguel Cabrera hit a huge two-run homer in the clincher, especially noteworthy because he had hit only two extra-base hits since Aug. 27. … With Scherzer, Verlander and Sanchez, the Tigers have the same excellent depth in their rotation as they did in winning the pennant last year.