The Detroit Tigers pulled out a Game 5 ALDS road win over the Oakland Athletics on Oct. 10. Now on Oct. 12, the Tigers are facing the AL East champion Boston Red Sox on the road in Game 1 of the ALCS. While this may seem daunting, Detroit knows very well that this road is manageable, at least before the World Series.
Exactly a year ago, the Tigers clinched the ALDS in Oakland behind a dominant Justin Verlander in Game 5, just like they did days ago. Back in 2012, the Tigers’ reward was to face the AL East champion New York Yankees, who had just overcome their divisional rivals in the Baltimore Orioles. While the Yankees were riding high, they quickly collapsed after losing Derek Jeter in Game 1, as the Tigers rolled to a sweep.
A year later, the Tigers are facing another AL East champion on the road to start the ALCS. In this case, the Red Sox are filling in for the Yankees, after they beat the divisional rival Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS. While the Red Sox are riding high, history would seem to indicate that they will lose an important figure to injury and then get swept out.
History isn’t just repeating itself for the Tigers, as the NLCS is pitting the St. Louis Cardinals against an NL West champion, just like last season. This time around, the Los Angeles Dodgers are filling in for the San Francisco Giants, who swept the Tigers out of the World Series in 2012. Therefore, the Tigers only need to keep recreating 2012 in the ALCS.
Even if the Red Sox get out of Game 1 completely healthy, the Tigers still hope to win behind Anibal Sanchez, who matches up with Jon Lester. If Detroit steals Game 1, it has Max Scherzer and Verlander on deck next to bury Boston, just as New York was buried a year ago.
The Tigers have been here before and are following last year’s path to the pennant to the letter, while the Red Sox haven’t been this far since 2008. But if anyone can buck historical trends, it is the no longer championship free Red Sox over the past 10 years.
Detroit and Boston will forge a new path in the ALCS -- or not -- starting at 8 p.m. est on FOX.