Thursday, December 12, 2013
Morning Sentinel Staff
DETROIT -- If the Detroit Tigers took Sunday's loss to heart, they certainly
hid their devastation well Monday afternoon.
Before their workout at Comerica Park, the sound emanating from the Tigers
clubhouse was laughter.
"We're trained to have amnesia," Detroit veteran right fielder Torii Hunter
said. His Tigers and the Boston Red Sox are tied 1-1 in the American League
Championship Series, after Boston's stunning 6-5 comeback win on Sunday.
Hunter could even joke about the signature play of Sunday's game - the
David Ortiz grand slam that landed in the Red Sox bullpen as Hunter flipped
over the right field wall trying to reach it.
A photo captured a policeman in the bullpen raising his arms while Hunters
legs were in the air.
"That's all right. Shows good effort," Hunter said of the photo, before
going into his typical comedic routine.
"The cop is supposed to be protect and serve. This son-of-a-gun has his
hands up," Hunter said, a smile never leaving his face. "If I ever see him
again ... Help me, then cheer."
Red Sox fans are cheering. Maybe they think that Ortiz slam and Jarrod
Saltalamacchia's walk-off single are going to turn this series Boston's way.
On Monday, there certainly was a little lift in the Red Sox steps.
"I wish we could be playing (Monday) after what happened (Sunday)," Boston
catcher David Ross said.
But neither manager sees a momentum shift.
"I don't look for any carryover," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I
didn't see any carryover with the Boston Red Sox (after Saturday's game).
They lost a 1-0 game they probably should have won.
"We probably should have won that game (Sunday night). They probably should
have won the first one. We're probably exactly where we're supposed to be."
Boston manager John Farrell, said "we certainly gained some confidence in
the last couple of innings (Sunday)."
But ... "Game 2 is behind us. It's been the beauty of this team all year
long, focus on today's game and not be living in the past."
One reason why Detroit can so easily move on, and why Boston needs to
re-focus, is the Tigers starting pitcher.
No momentum switch is going to help the Red Sox make contact on a Justin
Verlander high-90's fastball - or his slider, curve or change-up, for that
Boston fans may be joyous, but there is a cold hard fact looming large in
Against Detroit starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, the Red
Sox have two hits and one run in 13 innings.
Now, along comes Verlander, the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award
"The work of Sanchez and Scherzer has been nothing short of spectacular,"
"We feel like Verlander is going to be a similar, if not more difficult
challenge than what we've faced already."
Verlander put up solid, though unspectacular numbers for him: 13-12, 3.46
"We're not robots," Verlander said. "But I really feel like the last month
of the season I've started to get it to click."
Verlander's ERA in September was 2.27. In two playoff starts against the
A's, Verlander was 2-0, allowing no runs and six hits over 15 innings,
striking out 21.
What will Boston's approach be against Verlander?
"Same as it is every day," third baseman Will Middlebrooks said. "Get a
good pitch to hit and hit it. But some days you get more good pitches to
Tuesday does not figure to be one of those days. The Red Sox need to hope
Verlander is not dominating with his robot-like precision.
Because if Boston can't figure Verlander out, the momentum and series lead
goes back to Detroit.