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John Lackey and Mike Napoli help Red Sox defeat Justin Verlander in Game 3 of ALCS

Oct 15, 2013, 7:47 PM EDT

Tigers ace Justin Verlander whiffed 10 batters and allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings in Tuesday’s ALCS Game 3 against the Red Sox, becoming the first pitcher in postseason history to fan 10 batters and yield four-or-fewer hits in three consecutive outings. But that’s not the story here.

The Red Sox got a solo home run from first baseman Mike Napoli in the top of the seventh inning to snap Verlander’s shutout bid and rode that to a 1-0 win over host Detroit at a cold and gray Comerica Park.

Boston starter John Lackey did his own Verlander impression, yielding just four hits over 6 2/3 frames while fanning eight. He did not issue a walk and was visibly frustrated when Boston manager John Farrell decided to go to the bullpen with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. But that move worked out.

Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combined to keep the Tigers scoreless, navigating in and out of a couple tight jams. The Red Sox — who battled back from a 5-0 deficit to win Game 2 at Boston’s Fenway Park — now boast a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

Game 4 of the ALCS is scheduled to get underway Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

  1. thebadguyswon - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    So much for that BS saying “momentum is the next day’s pitcher” huh?

    Detroit is done. They won’t recover from blowing Game 2.

    • paperlions - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Of course momentum is the next day’s pitcher….of course, each team has a pitcher and both pitched very well. If you really think that blowing game 2 is why Detroit lost this game, then you aren’t giving Lackey any credit.

      • thebadguyswon - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:50 PM

        I think Detroit – mentally – is shot. Losing that second game the way they did is huge. Sorry, but I believe in momentum in baseball – and Detroit gave it back to Boston in game 2. They are toast. Where are the bats??!!! John Lackey is a number 3 starter – not Greg Maddux in his prime that the Tigers turned him into tonight.

      • km9000 - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:08 PM

        “Where are the bats??!!!”

        Both teams scored 6 runs each coming into tonight.

      • dangle13x - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:52 PM

        No he’s not Greg Maddux, but if you actually watched the game and aren’t a mongoloid, you would realize that Lackey’s stuff was incredible tonight.

    • mornelithe - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      No way in hell do I consider the rest of this series a gimme. The Tigers starting rotation is too damn good to overlook, even if their BP is weaker. And their offense isn’t exactly a slouch either. That the 3 games thus far have been decided by 1 run, is only indicative of that.

      Hoping for a Sox win, but, I’m not ready to call it a series just yet.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      The Momentum Fallacy is the same as the Hot Hand Fallacy. If Verlander wins the game then people will say he swung Momentum in Detroit’s favor, when the Red Sox won it’s because they had Momentum. See how the Momentum narrative can adapt to whatever circumstance without requiring to prove it exists?

      • thebadguyswon - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:09 PM

        You can’t measure psychology. And psychologically, the Red Sox have the edge right now. They did as soon as Ortiz hit the grand slam.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        In other words you can’t prove anything. The player’s pyschology changes just as soon as he does something. A hit, a homerun, anything. The point is you can’t predict when or if it will happen at all. What will happen is that as long as the Red Sox continue winning the narrative will be Detroit has lost it mentally, then if Detroit wins a game the narrative will change to how the Tigers mentally got their mojo back. It has zero predictive value and hence irrelevant.

      • thebadguyswon - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        You can talk around it all day. The psychology of sports is real. You can go back to your Bill James’ abstract now.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        And I’m saying it’s useless in predicting a winner. Momentum is next day’s starting pitcher. Case in point: After the Dodgers won against Wainwright and achieved a shutout you would think “Momentum” was with the Dodgers. The expectation would be that they would even up the series. They fell flat and lost yesterday. At least according to you. But I’m sure you’ll come up with some excuse as to how in reality the Cardinals stole Momentum from the Dodgers. (And before that with Waino on the mound and up 2-0 the Cardinals “had momentum” and were expected to go up 3-0 right?).

        The fact that you can only tell who “has” momentum AFTER the key moment tells you that “Momentum” is created and assigned post-narrative. It tells you nothing of how the next game will play out.

  2. aceshigh11 - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    What an unbelievable nail-biter.

    Verlander did everything required of him…just came up short.

    • dangle13x - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      Why are Boston fans voting this down? Can’t admit that both pitchers were great?

  3. echech88 - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    *Arte Moreno reads this headline*

    *Pauses…googles current payroll*

    *Sees Vernon Wells and Joe Blanton*

    *Looks at this headline again*

    *Signs Robinson Cano*

  4. miketreedy - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Difference in series is Ortiz is clutch while Cabrera and Fielder haven’t been. Man on third w/ 1 out and neither could bring him in with the game on the line. These two disappear every post season.

    • dangle13x - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      I’ll give you Fielder has disappeared, but Cabrera has 12 HRs and 34 RBI in 47 career playoff games. So yea, that’s what we rational people call proof.

  5. sabatimus - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Uehara’s the fricking man.

    • Glenn - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      Uehara is the man, but does it bother any other Red Sox fans that Farrell keeps using his second and third best relievers for just a few outs in close games? This is going to cost the Sox eventually. He is going to need Breslow and Tazawa in one of these games after he wasted them on a batter or two. He’s used his set-up man for one out two games in a row. It’s worked, but it won’t always.

      • pastabelly - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        They weren’t wasted at all. They got key outs. The fact that they only faced a batter or two means that they both can come back today. In a seven game series, you only run into three consecutive games once (game 5). Getting important outs as opposed to saving them for a possible game 5 when they may or may not be needed for game 4 or game 5 makes little sense. You have to use your bullets and I like my chances with the Red Sox bullpen over the Tigers bullpen.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      The one bit I have enjoyed from Toucher and Rich is when they use Google Translate to translate his Twitter feed.

  6. peterjohnjoseph - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    What an unbelievable game and series for the world to see just how much good pitching means to baseball. The best two teams in terms of hittings and runs scored, and we’ve got nail biting pitching duels almost every game. Same goes for LA and Cinci. It all goes down to who makes less mistakes, and who will break first, and to me, thats great strategic, skill first, baseball.

  7. thebadguyswon - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    This series is proving that a bullpen can make or break you in the postseason. It’s Detroit’s one weakness and its a huge strength of Boston’s.

    • js20011041 - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      If the bullpen consists entirely of Uehara, then yes, I agree with you. Outside of Uehara, the rest of them scare the hell out of me, as a Red Sox fan.

      • pastabelly - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        Do you even watch the games?

  8. pwshrugged - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Lasting image for me in this game is Cabrera swinging madly, Fielder-style, with runners on the corners and one out. I know Fielder will do that, but Cabrera is usually better than that and works the pitcher some. Worse yet, it was a one-run deficit at the time, so there was no need to swing for the fences – a patient line-drive single would have done the job. Watching both guys hack at the ball was just… ugh. Once Cabrera struck out, I knew the game was over.

    Gotta tip my hat to Lackey, though. Verlander sure seems to bring the best out in his opposing pitcher lately.

    • dangle13x - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      Miggy can’t even make his normal 2 handed follow through. Because of his injury, he’s forced to let go with his right hand. Suddenly the best right handed swing in baseball is gone. A season of playing through nagging injuries have caught up to him and he’s now a shell of the superstar everyone knows he is when healthy.

  9. ras1tafari - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I had a thoughtful comment, but then Jenny Dell came on NESN….

    • martysbetter - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      Far too many thumbs down for this comment, it happens to the best of us my man.

  10. tfbuckfutter - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    When is Lackey not visibly frustrated?

    Even when he wins you can tell he’s annoyed that he’s missing the start of CSI.

    And don’t even TRY explaining the DVR to him.

    • dangle13x - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      He takes on the persona of the Boston faithful. Dumb, angry, white trash.

      • drewzducks - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:03 PM

        Says the expert on EVERYTHING trash.

  11. steelers88 - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    It feels like the Red Sox are a team of destiny.

    • thebadguyswon - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      {vomits at the increasing liklihood that this is true}

    • dangle13x - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      One comeback win and suddenly a team of destiny. You Boston fans are priceless.

  12. elmo - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    So now Kershaw, Wainwright and Verlander have all been tagged with losses in the LCS. Baseball is a funny game.

  13. theskinsman - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    By far the best Lackey has pitched since he came to Boston.I HATED on him for how bad he was for so long.I’m glad I was wrong.Verlander did everything anyone could ask.Great pitching exhibition.

  14. hojo20 - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    That was a fantastic game.

  15. 2late2matter - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    From my Lazy-Boy I can see these pitchers getting absolutely no support from either of their teammates on the Offensive end. Look at the heavy batting averages and relate to anybody where “they” go when these hitters are needed….(?)

    Boston’s long ball has won them two games so far. Tiger hitters need to show up or go back to their bench – like they did last season – starting in Game 4. Win or go home!

  16. themagicfanguy - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    I’m loving this series, fantastic pitching. Between Verlander, Scherzer, Lester, Sanchez, Uehara and now Lackey it’s been amazing. I love how you can feel that tension when it’s two outs in the bottom of the eighth/ninth down by one run.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:27 AM

      I could feel the tension with men on in the first. It seems like every run counts as triple considering how hard they have been to come by.

  17. vegasgreek - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Tigers are Chokers . they choked a 5-1 lead in the 2nd game and they choked today.

  18. mornelithe - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    I am absolutely floored that Lackey actually went toe to toe with Verlander….and won tonight. Tiger’s fans, please do not take this as gloating, I certainly am not. 99 out of 100 games I have to think that Verlander wins this match-up, hell, before tonight I thought it would be 100 out of 100. Wow.

  19. cjvanhorn - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Reblogged this on THE QUARTERBACK and commented:
    Some people aren’t fans of pitching duels. I am not one of them. Last night’s gem between Boston veteran John Lackey and Detroit hurler Justin Verlander was a sight to see. Both pitchers were dealing…big time. Lackey got off to a rough start but settled in after the 17-minute delay due to power failure. He struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings before (possibly prematurely?) being pulled in favor of reliever Craig Breslow. Verlander was untouchable until the top of the seventh inning when Mike Napoli, who hadn’t done much of anything in the first two games of the series, homered to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. One mistake in an otherwise marvelous outing. Yes, an argument can be made for games that center around offense but it’s great two see two pitchers like Lackey and Verlander being absolute masters of their craft for an evening in a huge setting.

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