|10.15.13 at 10:03 pm ET|
DETROIT — A smattering of postgame clubhouse reaction to the events that led to the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Tigers in Game 3 of the ALDS:
ON THE SECOND-INNING POWER OUTAGE THAT DELAYED JOHN LACKEY’S RETURN TO THE MOUND BY 17 MINUTES:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “He definitely wasn’t happy with it. It always seems like his starts are something whether there’s a rain delay or something happens where there’s a delay. He always seem to get those. I think it was probably a good opportunity for him to slow things down. I think he was a little excited that first inning. It seemed like he was maybe overthrowing a little bit because he was leaving pitches over the plate that he normally doesn’t. So, it might’ve been a good chance for him to slow down and regroup.”
Torii Hunter: “Somebody not pay that bill?”
ON THE PERFORMANCE OF JOHN LACKEY:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “I’ve seen him go out there with 95, 96, crisper, like that game against Baltimore. That was the best I’ve seen his stuff. But as far as the situation tonight and what he was up against, yeah, I mean, that was huge. Big game.”
Jake Peavy, specifically on the fact that the talk surrounding this game all related to Tigers starter Justin Verlander: “We had a guy going tonight who has been there, done it and has a chance. There was just no talk. It was almost like there was no talk of we even having a starting pitcher going out there. Talking to John, it’s about the guys in this room. And he wants to be a world champion again. … We’d just been watching this stuff all day and it was like we didn’t even have a starting pitcher going today. I didn’t hear John Lackey’s name mentioned the last 48 hours. It just amazes me that somebody with the back of his baseball card, his resume, gets overlooked in a game like this. It has nothing to do with the way he pitched or anything else, other than he was ready for this stage and he delivered.”
David Ross: “Honestly guys, you guys may be shocked, but nobody in here is. That guy has been one of our most consistent pitchers all year. He had something to prove coming off an injury. He had some tough years when he was pitching hurt. I think he’s had that about him every time. He’s a passionate pitcher and every time expects good things. He was a No. 1.”
David Ortiz: “We’re having dinner last night and he sat down and didn’t say a word. He’s been like that since last night. I was like, damn, son. It’s unbelievable. His pitches were where he wanted. We all know that we’re facing a good team. that’s what we need.”
ON JUSTIN VERLANDER’S PERFORMANCE:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “We knew what we were up against. I don’t think anybody was thinking that we were going to walk all over this game and win. I think we all knew we were going to have to battle and grind, just like we did tonght. That’s what made Lack’s start even bigger was the fact that we knew we weren’t going to get a lot of runs. We had to pitch.”
|10.15.13 at 10:02 pm ET|
DETROIT — May 4, 2006.
That’s when Mike Napoli recorded his first major league hit, taking Detroit starter Justin Verlander over the Comerica Park fence.
October 15, 2013.
That’s when Napoli notched his most recent major league hit, also taking Verlander over the Comerica Park fence.
While the one seven years ago will forever be a career highlight for the righty hitter, his blast in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the American League Series probably feels a bit more significant in the here and now.
“Obviously I’ll never forget that, being my first at-bat,” Napoli said after the Red Sox’ 1-0 win. “I remember it being a day game and me being really tired that day. Got the call from Salt Lake City.
“[Verlander] has definitely grown. I’ve definitely grown. You just have to make adjustments. He didn’t really throw too much of a slider back then. He threw really hard, threw a curveball, had a good changeup. We all watch video. We all get game-plans and you kind of have a plan of what he’s going to do to you, what he’s done in the past, and that’s what I go off.”
This time, Verlander had started Napoli off with four straight sliders in the first baseman’s first at-bat of the game (ending up in a strikeout). The second at-bat also resulted in a punch-out, this time courtesy of four fastballs and a curveball.
Then came at-bat No. 3.
Verlander followed up three straight fastballs with a pair of sliders before mislocating a heater Napoli was able to deposit over the left-center field fence.
“I’ve been feeling comfortable,” said Napoli, who came into the game 4-for-18 against Verlander. “I’m not searching for anything. For me it’s just being on time. Going to that at-bat, he got me twice early in the game. Threw me four sliders, which he’s never done to me before. But I just kept on going at it. I put a good at-bat together. I was able to get it to 3-2 and got a pitch I could handle.”
“I felt like he hadn’t seen the fastball very well today, either, and he took those two sliders before that pitch,” Verlander said. “The second one I threw was a really good slider that he didn’t chase. So 3-2 there, and having faced him a couple of times already, I knew he wasn’t seeing the fastball that great. I decided to challenge him. And that’s … I made a little bit of a mistake. It was a little bit up and over the middle. You have to give him credit.”
In Napoli’s only other meeting with Verlander this season, the righty had thrown 19 pitches over three plate appearances. In that June 23 outing against the Sox first baseman, the hurler threw eight fastballs, five sliders (one which Napoli managed a single against), four changeups and two curveballs.
“I see a lot of pitches throughout the season. Every at-bat, I try to see a lot of pitches,” Napoli said. “I feel like the more pitches I see the better for me, the more I get involved into that at-bat, the more I can see stuff. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to be aggressive early in the count. I’m just trying to get a pitch that I can handle an drive somewhere.
“He threw me two sliders before the fastball. I felt comfortable. I took them really well and I felt comfortable and confident when I saw those and took those sliders. I ‘ll just try to be short to the ball and get a pitch I can handle.”
|10.15.13 at 9:26 pm ET|
DETROIT — According to a team source, Daniel Nava is slated to start in left field for the Red Sox in their Game 4 matchup with the Tigers at Comerica Park Wednesday night.
Nava would be replacing Jonny Gomes, who notched the Sox’ first hit of the game with two outs in the fifth inning while also making a nice diving catch in left on seventh-inning liner off the bat of Prince Fielder.
The switch-hitting Nava is 5-for-12 in his career against Detroit’s Game 4 starter Doug Fister, while Gomes is 1-for-3 vs. the righty.
“Daniel has had good success against Fister,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said prior to Game 3. “There’s no guarantee that will be the case tomorrow. But also contemplating Daniel will have three days off leading into tomorrow and how does that affect his potential timing at the plate. There were a number of things we considered. But getting back to what’s most important, that’s today, and trying to get the best fit, the best matchup that we could come to.”
Gomes’ is 4-for-16 during the postseason, having scored four runs. Nava, who broke up the Tigers’ Game 1 no-hitter in Game 1, has played in three postseason games, going 2-for-8.
Tuesday, it was Gomes’ turn to break up a no-hitter, managing his fifth-inning infield single against Detroit starter Justin Verlander.
“Where’s there smoke there’s fire. Where there’s no smoke, there’s no fire,” Gomes said. “I didn’t think this team would have to scratch out the first hit in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. But this is how this thing has been written up.”
|10.15.13 at 7:45 pm ET|
DETROIT — The focus leading up to Game 3 of the American League Championship Series was squarely on one place: Tigers starter Justin Verlander. After the Sox had failed to get a hit against either Detroit starter in the first two contests, was it possible they could reverse course against a pitcher who has been the most dominant in the AL this decade?
The attention heaped on that question swallowed all other dialogue leading up to Game 3. The Red Sox thought that the Verlander centrism of the buildup — with no thought given to Sox starter John Lackey — might have been somewhat misguided.
“John Lackey is a stud. And it’s been funny for me to watch all the coverage of the game coming in,” said Jake Peavy, taking note of the somewhat obsessive coverage of Verlander’s outing. “Almost like we didn’t have a starter going today. Our starter is pretty good, too. Anybody as a rookie that wins Game 7 of the World Series, you can’t get any bigger of a stage. And for him to go out there at 22, 23 years old, however old he was, shows you what this guy is made of. Everybody in that clubhouse loves John, loves his demeanor, makeup, he’s got that old school Texan makeup that we all love, Nolan Ryan kind of attitude.
“John is a gamer. John is going to go out, and I promise you this, just like I said, we understand what kind of challenge we have going against Justin Verlander, it’s no secret. Justin is probably the best in the game right now. But at that same time, there ain’t any part of John Lackey that doesn’t think he’s going to win today and will do anything he can possibly do to make that happen.”
Verlander was brilliant, giving up just one run in eight innings while permitting four hits, one walk and punching out 10. But Lackey, true to Peavy’s proclamation, was better, firing 6 2/3 shutout innings in which he punched out eight and walked none to lead the Sox to a 1-0 victory in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, with Boston taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Lackey was overpowering throughout his outing, with an outstanding fastball (a pitch that elicited five swings and misses from Miguel Cabrera), a diving slider and curveball as well as a cutter. The combination yielded five groundball outs in addition to the eight punchouts, which represented a new postseason career high for Lackey.
Mike Napoli, after getting overpowered and striking out in each of his first two plate appearances against Verlander to extend his ALCS futility to 0-for-6 with six punchouts and a walk, unloaded on a full-count 96 mph fastball from the Tigers starter, launching it just over the fence in left-center for a solo homer — his sixth in 39 career postseason games — and a 1-0 lead. That was just the third two-strike homer that Verlander had given up all year, and the first since July 9.
The Sox bullpen followed Lackey with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing the Sox to claim their first 1-0 victory of the 2013 season, and the third 1-0 win in franchise postseason history (with the other two coming in Game 1 of the 1986 World Series and Game 1 of the 1918 World Series).
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »
|10.15.13 at 5:52 pm ET|
The WEEI team made the trip to Detroit, and we took some photos before and during Game 3 of the ALCS. To see all our photos from Tuesday, click here.
Follow our live blog for in-game updates and analysis.
|10.15.13 at 3:26 pm ET|
WEEI and WEEI.com are on the scene in Detroit for Game 3 of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, with John Lackey and the Red Sox looking to take a 2-1 advantage against the formidable opponents of the Tigers and Justin Verlander. For all the latest news, analysis and insight from Comerica Park, join the live blog below.
|10.15.13 at 3:12 pm ET|
DETROIT — Prior to the start of the American League Championship Series, it was intriguing to note the success of one overlooked bullpen option against the heart of the Tigers order. Left-hander Felix Doubront had held the trio of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez to a 1-for-15 mark, a performance unmatched by any other Red Sox bullpen member. He added to his resume with a similarly overlooked performance in Game 2 of the ALCS, when he recorded four outs — including outs against both Fielder and Martinez — to keep the deficit in check and permit the Red Sox to stage their memorable comeback.
Manager John Farrell took notice, to the point where it’s possible that the left-hander’s role could grow in significance going forward — particularly given that left-hander Franklin Morales permitted two of the three Rays hitters he faced in his only postseason appearance to reach en route to absorbing the loss in Game 3 of the ALDS. What did Farrell see in Doubront’s maiden postseason appearance?
“A lot, given it was 15 or so days since he last pitched,” said Farrell. “When you past Cabrera in this lineup, left-handers fit this lineup better to keep Victor on the right side of the plate. [Jhonny] Peralta, the way he’s swinging the bat, I don’t think it’s right-handed or left-handed. You have [Alex] Avila, [Don] Kelly and [Andy] Dirks to maybe neutralize a little more. I know we’re only two games in, but Felix could play a pivotal role in this series.”
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