Red Sox, Tigers clash for first time in postseason

Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:43pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - There is a first for everything, even for charter members of the American League going back more than a century, as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers can attest.

Rivals for 112 years, Boston and Detroit will clash in the postseason for the first time when the best-of-seven American League Championship Series starts Saturday in Beantown.

Boston has won seven World Series and Detroit owns four Fall Classic titles, and the survivor of this battle between veteran-laden teams gets a chance to add on against the winner of the National League series between the Dodgers and Cardinals.

With marquee players such as David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia in the Red Sox lineup, and Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the middle of the Tigers' complement, the formidable pitching staffs of both clubs should be challenged.

The Tigers, who last won the ultimate prize in 1984 have reached the ALCS for the third year in a row and still feel the sting of a four-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants in last year's tilt for MLB's championship.

"That's the motivation that we've had all year," said Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Thursday's 3-0 Division Series clincher against the Oakland Athletics.

"(For) Everybody here who had a taste of that last year and how much it hurts, it's that extra driving factor."

The Red Sox, meanwhile, have flourished after a makeover that altered team chemistry and propelled them from a last-place 69-93 finish in 2012 to top seed status with the American League's best record at 97-65.   Continued...

October 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning in game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at Coliseum. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports