The Detroit Tigers had their backs against the wall while playing the Oakland Athletics in the American League Division Series (ALDS) but due to some clutch pitching and batting, the Tigers were able to beat the A’s and advance to the American League Conference Series (ALCS) for the third straight consecutive season.
Now while many Tiger fan are celebrating that fact, fans should expect an even more intense series than the last one, seeing that the Tigers will be facing off against the Boston Red Sox.
Going into this game, the Tigers must follow certain steps to win the ALCS and advance to the 2013 World Series:
The first step has to be getting the bats going again, they came into the playoffs hot at bat but during the series against the Oakland Athletics, they went hot and cold on the bats. They did step up at bat when it mattered against Oakland but they will need more consistent batting going into the series against Boston. The turnaround should start with Torri Hunter and Austin Jackson who didn’t do well against the A’s and hopefully the Tigers can get better consistent play from Prince Fielder who also didn’t perform well against the A’s. Obviously when you talk about Fielder, you talk about an aggressive hitter, if he can get back to his power hitting it will be a plus for the Tigers. Even though Miguel Cabrera is not a 100%, it would be nice if he can at least go 75% and I definitely hope to see Jhonny Peralta continue to do well at the bat.
Next step is to keep the pitching going, against Oakland, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were able to come away with impressive performances along with some clutch moments. Going into this game, they need to continue that level of play and I have no doubt that they can. I would even argue they could possibly be the best 1-2 punch currently in the playoffs, especially if they continue to pitch well consistently.
Finally I hope to see some unsung heroes step up in this series, meaning someone besides Scherzer, Cabrera and Verlander. Victor Martinez was somewhat of an unsung hero during the regular season but I also wouldn’t mind seeing Alex Avila step up and definitely do a better job of controlling the running game. Also looking to Jose Iglesias who continues to be the Tigers defensive shortstop.
I honestly believe the Boston Red Sox are the better overall team but when you’re talking about the MLB Playoffs, its more about execution, consistency and match-up advantages. If the Tigers follow the steps above they may just make it back to the World Series.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit