American League Championship Series
In a series dominated by pitching, the Detroit Tigers broke out the bats and blew apart Red Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy, winning Game 4 7-3 to tie the ALCS up at two games apiece.
Peavy recorded merely nine outs in the game, allowing seven runs and walking three batters, an outing marred by a destructive second inning in which the Tigers hung five runs on the board to open up the scoring. Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia faced a routine ground ball that could have set up an inning-ending double play, but the two time Gold Glove recipient misread the bounce and the Detroit rally was kept alive. The Tigers never looked back, taking a 7-0 lead in the fourth and cruising to a lopsided victory.
“Hopefully we’ll command the strike zone with a little bit more consistency, and Jake has been so good at that” Boston manager John Farrell said. “You’re asking for a little bit of trouble by additional base runners, and unfortunately, what turned out to be giving them an extra out lends to a crooked number on the board.”
Doug Fister struck out seven Boston batters in six innings of work, allowing just one run before being relieved by the Tiger bullpen.
The highlight of the equalizing game for Detroit came in the batter’s box. Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Austin Jackson each record a pair of RBIs, while Jackson also walked twice to get on base in all four at-bats. Manager Jim Leyland shuffled the batting order around prior to Game 4, dropping Jackson to the eighth spot to take some of the pressure off the outfielder.
“It served its purpose” the centerfielder said. “It helped me relax, and made me go up there and just get a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Heading into Game 5, Leyland doesn’t expect to deviate from the winning formula that produced the first one-sided affair of the series.
“A lot of people contributed, and that was a good thing” Leyland remarked. “You’re always seeing good pitching, and it’s not that easy. If you look at all the series, I think it’s remarkable if you look at some of the batting averages of all the teams involved in the playoffs. It’s pretty shocking sometimes, so it’s just not that easy. It’s hard, but I will go with this lineup tomorrow for sure.”
Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury raised his team leading batting average to .333 with a 4 for 5 performance with an RBI, while Shane Victorino and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each plated a runner as well.
Jon Lester and Anibal Sanchez will start on the mound for Boston and Detroit on Thursday night. In Game 1 of the series, Lester and Sanchez combined to pitch 12 1/3 innings allowing just one run, six hits, and 16 strikeouts.
First pitch at Comerica Park is scheduled for 8pm; you can hear the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 7.
National League Championship Series
On the brink of elimination from the NLCS, the Los Angeles Dodgers forced a trip back to St. Louis with a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals in Game 5 Wednesday night.
The Dodgers ended a power outage that had endured throughout the first four games of the series. Adrian Gonzalez broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run, the first of the NLCS for Los Angeles and the first of two long balls for the first baseman in the game. Carl Crawford cranked a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, while AJ Ellis tacked on an additional solo home run in the seventh to provide extra run support for the bullpen.
Ellis called the pitches behind the plate for Zack Greinke, who pitched seven innings while allowing just six hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts. The second strong outing of the series by Greinke provided the perfect compliment to the surge in offensive production in the Dodgers’ win.
“We had some big swings” said Ellis after the game. “It’s been no secret they’ve held us down. We hadn’t hit any home runs this series. That’s the kind of the difference in the game for us. We got some home runs—Adrian hit the big ones and Carl got his, and Zack was amazing as he was in Game 1.”
As the series heads back to Busch Stadium, the Dodgers must rattle off two more victories to come from behind to win the series and clinch their first World Series berth since 1988, but the team feels as though they have a fan base edging the team on that extends beyond the Los Angeles area.
“I think when you really look at it now, we’ve kind of become America’s team because everybody wants to see a seventh game” manager Don Mattingly said. “Probably even the fans of St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody is for us to win.”
The Cardinals had a chance to pull ahead early in the game, loading the bases in the top of the first inning with no outs, but a strike out followed by a double play ended the inning before St. Louis could inflict any damage. The Cardinals never led the game.
“Our guys have been so good all season long in that situation, but it does happen,” manager Mike Matheny said. “They’re not going to be 100 percent good, and you do give credit when they’re able to do those [getting out of a jam] and turn them around. It is a momentum shift, there’s no question.”
St. Louis pitcher Joe Kelly pitched five innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in the losing performance.
After a travel day on Thursday, the Cardinals host the Dodgers Friday night at 8:30pm. Ace Clayton Kershaw will take to the hill for L.A. against Michael Wacha, who has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings pitched this postseason.