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Red Sox defeat Tigers in Game 5 of ALCS, move within one game of World Series

Oct 18, 2013, 12:00 AM EDT

The Red Sox are within one game of the World Series.

Mike Napoli went 3-for-4 with a long run home run and Koji Uehara locked down a five-out save as the Red Sox topped the Tigers 4-3 in Game 5 of the ALCS at Comerica Park this evening. Boston now has a 3-2 edge in the series. Four out of the five games have been decided by one run.

While Anibal Sanchez tossed six hitless innings back in Game 1, the Red Sox got to him for four runs (three earned) over six innings this time around. He gave up three of them in the second inning, including a 460-foot blast from Napoli. The fourth run scored on a wild pitch from Sanchez in the third inning. It was just enough for the Red Sox to hang on.

Jon Lester gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings in the victory. The Tigers had their share of chances to make things interesting, but they had rallies spoiled in the sixth and seventh innings due to double plays. Uehara retired all five batters he faced to end it, throwing 27 pitches in the process. It was just his second five-out save of the year.

The best-of-seven series will resume Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. Max Scherzer will be tasked with keeping the Tigers’ season alive while Clay Buchholz will attempt to pitch Boston to their first World Series appearance since 2007.

  1. wilkisoft - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    For the love of god, John Farrell. Please remove Drew from the lineup in Game 6.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      At this point it’s a cry for help.

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      I was so pissed that it was Middlebrooks instead of Drewl that was benched for Bogearts.

    • sabatimus - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:19 AM

      Drew was once again a complete failure at the plate. Sit him down!

    • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      Drew was a good hitter this season. The fact that he has had a bad 28 AB (against mostly great pitching) doesn’t mean much.

      • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM

        Drew had the second best offensive WAR among American League shortstops. Yes, he has had a brutal playoff performance so far, but I don’t think he quite deserves the grief he is getting. Nor do I think he should sit based on a few games.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        He was atrocious on the road.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:24 AM

        Plus, defense matters. Detroit’s defense has let them down repeatedly this series. In these games, catching the ball is just as important as hitting it.

  2. redsoxchamp11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    or at least bat him last.

    I am going to have a stroke with all this stress.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      If this goes seven games, my ulcers will have ulcers.

      • indaburg - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:10 AM

        :-) Good.

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        Gonna take care of me, nursey? ;)

      • indaburg - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        /snapping gloves on

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        Kinky ;) Ha

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      Keeping things in perspective, try to remember how you felt when the season started.

      Even if they blow the last 2 games, they have far exceeded expectations.

      I think half the problem thus far has been that they went from being underdogs to believing they are the best team in baseball and the series would be a cakewalk. At least that was the feeling I got….that the Verlander/Lackey game was the only one they were expected to lose.

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:27 AM

        I never got the feeling that they got cocky.

        However, I said early in the season that if they somehow managed to win a wild card, I’d consider the season a success, but as the season went on and they just kept getting better and better, I started saying that this is a legit contender that could conceivably go all the way. I started wanting the big enchilada, and they did too.

        But I agree with you: even if they go down these next two games, they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. It’s been a great year.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        It’s almost like an entire season of the last four games of the 2004 ALCS.

        Winning one was unexpected, winning two was an “at least they showed up and made is respectable”, winning three was a “holy shit, is this for real?”….and then going into game four the best place to position yourself mentally is “they shouldn’t even be here.”

        And I could be completely wrong about them getting cocky….it’s just how I felt watching them flounder so badly offensively in the first 4 games. Or at least it’s the only thing that makes sense because the only other explanation is that the team suddenly morphed into what they were expected to be back in April….which doesn’t make much sense this late in the season.

        Although I have to say, it is pretty enjoyable watching a team win on “heart” and “grit” as opposed to overwhelming talent….unfortunately, it’s never a surprise when the talent of the other team overwhelms the heart of the “good guys”.

      • dapperdan50 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        “half the problem”? What problem?! They’re leading 3-2 in the ALCS, one win away from being in the WS and you’re referring to “the problem”?

        We must be fans from different planets.

      • mornelithe - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        “And I could be completely wrong about them getting cocky….it’s just how I felt watching them flounder so badly offensively in the first 4 games.”

        Tell me, which team has excelled offensively against Scherzer, Verlander and Sanchez all season? Sure Verlander’s had a down year compared to his Cy Young and MVP years. But, let’s face it, everyone knew a series against the Tigers was going to be an insanely grueling affair. The Tiger’s didn’t just luck into their post-season position, anymore than the Red Sox did. They’re both there for a reason.

        I agree that at the beginning of the year, I had no reason to believe they’d be where they are now. But, that was then and this is now. They have far, far surpassed my expectations and they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of going forward. But…all this talk of how the Sox offense has struggled I think takes away from the pitching mastery that’s been on display in this series.

        And remember, the Tigers had the 2nd best offense in the AL, this year. And other than the Peavy game, the other 4 contests have been decided by 1 run…does that also mean the Tiger’s offense has struggled? Or does it simply mean we’re witnessing a far, far above average pitching performance by both teams?

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        1 run and 3 hits in 16 innings to start the series, and 2 runs and 6 hits in 21 innings, to go along with 35 strikeouts against Detroit’s starters in the first three games is undoubtedly “floundering”. And 3 runs against the starters and 42 strikeouts in the first 4 games. I don’t care who is pitching.

        Don’t forget they are 1 Ortiz swing away from being down 3-2 and 1 Napoli swing away from possible being eliminated.

        I have no complaints because I never expected them to be in this situation….but to suggest the offense wasn’t awful early on and the Detroit pitching was super-human is silly. It was a problem.

        And to answer the question about what teams haven’t struggled….well Verlander had a 7.20 ERA, Scherzer had a 2.57 ERA but a 1-1 record, and Sanchez didn’t pitch against Boston this year but his career ERA against them was 14.57 (granted it was in only 1 appearance).

      • mornelithe - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        And other than strikeouts, how has Detroit fared against Boston’s SP/BP? 2nd Best offense in the league, afterall. What’s Fielder and Cabrera done? What have they done against Boston’s 7th 8th and 9th inning BP men? Is Detroit pathetic because they’re unable to get to Uehara? Of course not, no team has done well against Uehara this year, he’s just been that good. So has Scherzer, so has Sanchez, and we all know what Verlander is capable of.

        And when I said what team has done well against them…I’m pretty sure there are more teams than just Boston. As I said, to place all the blame on the offenses seams a bit disingenuous given how masterful the pitchers have been performing.

        Verlander’s ERA this year is 3.46
        Sanchez’s ERA this year is 2.57
        Scherzer’s ERA this year is 2.90

        The miniscule sample sizes you’re putting forth aren’t exactly being honest, when compared to their body of work over the season, in my opinion.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        I’m not analyzing Detroit’s offense because I don’t care if they are struggling, or not. The pitching looks awesome because the offense has been inept.

        It’s a combination of Detroit’s pitchers being good and the Sox offense being terrible. Usually it’s somewhere between a 50-50 split. The strikeouts suggest it the PROBLEM early on was Boston UNDERachieving more than the Tigers OVERachieving.

        I’m not saying Detroit’s pitching hasn’t stepped up, because they have been great….but that wasn’t the ONLY factor. The offense was flailing.

      • mornelithe - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        Well, no offense, but I feel that’s a tad hypocritical. Detroit’s offense ranked 2nd in the AL this year behind the Red Sox, and they’re down 3-2 in the ALCS to the Red Sox. Their team pitching ranked 9th versus the Sox 14th. Clearly, we should expect Detroit’s pitching staff to be out-performing Boston’s, and Boston’s offense to be outperforming Detroits…which is exactly what’s happened.

        I really don’t see how anyone can seriously say the Sox should be destroying Scherzer, Verlander and Sanchez (hell, even Fister did damn well). It doesn’t seem logical to me. But to each their own I guess. Not really a huge deal however you split it.

        Though, knowing Verlander’s ERA against the Sox, career-wise, gives me a great deal of confidence should this go 7 games.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        When the Sox top ranked offense is hitting Detroit at about a .60 ERA, a full two runs better than those pitchers pitched against lesser offenses all year that indicates a slump.

        How Detroit is hitting isn’t any part of my point so it had no baring on this. Nor does the record which I am thrilled with.

  3. redsoxchamp11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    on the eigth day the Lord created Koji.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      I can’t wait until Toucher and Rich read his Google Translated tweets tomorrow morning. Will be some gems.

    • jarathen - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      I couldn’t believe how bad the Tigers looked against him. Yes, he’s good, VERY good, but you had a feeling the game was already over when Peralta started swinging at every single pitch at a 3-2 count. Uehara must’ve been amazed. High, inside, didn’t matter. So he went low, way low, Peralta swung, and Koji went to work from there.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        Everyone has looked like that against Koji this year.

  4. jcmeyer10 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    I stress ate half a bag of BBQ chips during the bottom of the ninth.

  5. tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Did anyone else think Farrell had blown the game when he left Tazawa in to pitch to Cabrera?

    • sabatimus - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      It occurred to me. Tazawa has hardly been lights out. But fortunately it worked out.

    • sandpiperair - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      I was floored when he pinch ran Middlebooks for Bogaerts– I never considered Middlebrooks particularly fast or a great baserunner. That seemed to work out pretty well though.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        I was also not aware that Bogaerts isn’t especially fast. I just assumed he’s fast because, uh, well, he’s so, uh, tall. Yeah, that’s it.

      • gerryb323 - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        Don’t really know why it’s not Berry to run and then Middlebrooks for D. It’s not like Berry does anything other than run anyway.

    • js20011041 - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Yes and no. I don’t trust Tazawa, but I’ve read that Farrell wants Cabrera pitched with fastballs. Tazawa isn’t a flamethrower, but he does throw harder than Koji. As much as I’d love for him to bring Koji in to face the heart of the lineup, I don’t think Farrell did a bad job matching up. He wanted Tazawa against Cabrera, Breslow against Fielder and Martinez, and Koji for Peralta and beyond. I’ve been pretty critical of Ferrell, but I don’t think bullpen management is one of his weaknesses. He works within the save rule parameters that all managers do and he probably does it a little better than most.

  6. sabatimus - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Koji for a five-out save was totally the right move.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      Ferrell is finally learning what playoff baseball is all about. Go big or go home.

  7. 8man - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Stress you speak of? You know not. 2004 ALCS much stress, had.

    The vacuum at first, Napoli was. Three double plays led the way, they did.

    Work to do, still.

    Go Sox!

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      You were stressed in the 2004 ALCS?

      I went from “Pff, great, same old shit” to “Well, at least they won ONE” to “Ok, at least they made this look respectable in the record book” to “holy shit, they might have a chance” to them putting up 6 runs to open game 7.

      • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        Game 6 was pretty tense, especially since it wasn’t clear whether Schilling would hold up. But otherwise, yeah, I agree. Games 4 and 5 were great games, but at the time it felt like they had already lost the series, and this was just a consolation prize.

  8. SOSHITECH.COM - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    Reblogged this on SoshiTech.

  9. vegasgreek - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Dead Sox fans love to shoot their obnoxious mouths off. Wait until they play the Cardinals and get their balls cut off NL Style. hit and run steal bunt. Salty can’t throw out Cardinal runners. St ‘Louis has guts and heart and they are no chokers like the Tigers. Plus they have a BULL PEN.

    • sabatimus - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      At least clean up after yourself, for god’s sake.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Same thing happened the last time the Sox played the Cards in the WS, eh?

    • joestemme - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:08 AM

      NOT, besides the point, but this “NL Style” play was swept the last two times the Red Sox got to the World Series.

      Oh, and Boston has the 2nd best record in interleague play since it was instituted in 1997, having won 35 more games than the “NL Styling” Cardinals……………..

      • blacksables - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:41 AM

        Since when have the Rockies ever played ‘NL Style’ baseball?

        Which, by the way, have 5 of the last 7 World Series?

    • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:12 AM

      Red Sox: 123 stolen bases in 2013 (4th in MLB) with an 87% success rate (best in MLB).

      Cardinals: 45 stolen bases in 2013 (29th in baseball) with a 67% success rate (23rd in MLB, and stealing at this success rate actually costs your team runs).

      The Red Sox also advanced more runners, made more productive outs, and bunted for hits more often. The Cards led the league in rate of grounding into double plays.

      Which team caught the most opposing baserunners stealing? Red Sox (tied for first).

      • pastabelly - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        Maybe the Cardinals fan is confusing this Red Sox team with the 2011 or 2012 teams.

        Cardinals fans should be a little concerned about Kershaw before worrying or crapping on the Red Sox. Most Red Sox fans aren’t thinking past Game 6.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        Yes, but you’re missing his thesis: TEH CARDNALS RULEZZZ!!!!1!!

    • detroitr1 - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:57 AM

      …and your ‘BULL PEN’ will be tested by Ortiz

  10. kavika6 - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    The Red Sox have got to be the ugliest team in professional sports. I hope the Cards don’t lose to a bunch of Neandertals.

    • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:27 AM

      Don’t worry, they still have a chance to lose to the Dodgers.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      Definitely missed where the style points category in the box score.

    • supercoop8 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Misspelling Neanderthals is the perfect way to end your worthless comment.

      • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM

        Actually, that is a valid alternative spelling. Just like beards are a valid alternative to clean-shavenness.

      • kavika6 - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:59 AM

        Read a science book moron.

  11. redsoxchamp11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    vegasgreek…2012 NLCS. Need we say more?

    no one that’s a sox fan is on here saying we will kick anyones ass, more that we all went have extremely low expectations and are pleasantly surprised.

  12. drewsylvania - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    vegasqueef.

  13. chlstn - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Red Sox fans have more heart that any fans in professional sports. Sit back and enjoy what our team has done thus far this season. Sure we take a lot of crap, we have learned how to lose over the years. Right now we are doing well, enjoy it! Let the haters cry in their beer.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Oh, please. I’m a Sox fan, but please don’t think that our team is winning because we have more “heart.” Lackey and Lester were key parts of the 2011 collapse. Did they learn “heart” in the last two years?

      Or maybe sports is determined by talent, preparation and hard work? Naah.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        Whoops, I didn’t notice the commenter was talking about Red Sox FANS, not the players.

        Prior to 2004, I would have agreed with you. Ever since, it’s been remarkably easy (and fun) to be a Red Sox fan. And I’m not quite sure we had great heart for the years before 2004, either. Fenway would get SO QUIET in the late innings of a close game because we all knew that the Sox weren’t going to mount a heroic comeback. There was no home field advantage. Man, I was so jealous of the way Yankee Stadium would pulse in those big moments.

        And it’s not like I don’t understand. Heck, if you ever watch Elway’s Drive against the Cleveland Browns, check out how quiet THAT stadium was — and it held 80,000. It’s hard not to get beat down by the hard times and the near-misses.

        But today? Naaah. Being a Sox fan is a blast.

    • reasonisthereason - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      If this comment came from a woman, you get a free pass. If it came from a man, it is the single dumbest comment I’ve ever read.

  14. reasonisthereason - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    If this comment came from a woman, you get a free pass. If it came from a man, it is the single dumbest comment I’ve ever read.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      If this comment was written by a human being, it is the single most sexist thing I’ll read twice today. If it was written by a capuchin monkey, then I’m impressed.

      • sabatimus - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        Now THAT is priceless hahahaa ^^

  15. themcvhammer - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Reblogged this on McVHammer Time and commented:
    One Game Away

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