Gabe Kapler on M&M: ‘I think the Tigers are going to take this series’
|10.17.13 at 3:46 pm ET|
Former Red Sox outfielder and Fox Sports 1 analyst Gabe Kapler joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday morning to discuss Boston’s offensive struggles during the American League Championship Series, as well as whether Kapler would start Xander Bogaerts in Game 5 of the series.
The Sox offense, which led baseball during the regular season with 853 runs scored, has been downright anemic during the best-of-seven series against Detroit with a .186 batting average. Detroit’s starting pitching has feasted on Boston’s hitters through the first four games, as Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister are a combined 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 27 innings.
When looking at the reasoning for Boston’s offensive shortcomings, Kapler said that it’s more of Detroit’s excellent pitching than it is Boston’s lack of execution at the plate.
“I think that’s the big misconception in the playoffs,” Kapler said. “You’ve seen this over and over and over every single year, the big boys, the starting pitching, they come out and they dominate. … It’s great starting pitching just beats good hitting in the postseason. The Red Sox are a run-scoring machine, they were all through the season. They’ve just run into a buzz saw. … Really what this is about is the Tigers pitchers doing exactly what they’ve done all season long. I don’t think there’s any magical formula about it.
“These guys are now out-stuffing the Red Sox, particularly a guy like Justin Verlander, whose stuff has picked up in the postseason. … I think they are just bringing their ‘A’ game. Not that they’ve attacked the Red Sox in any different way, it’s the Red Sox are in a little bit of a postseason slump. Offenses is an absolute ebb and flow and it’s about just timing and the starting pitching of the Detroit Tigers.”
Kapler added that he thinks that it would be an excellent move if the Sox put 21-year-old phenom Xander Bogaerts in the lineup for Game 5. Kapler would have inserted Bogaerts into the batting order much earlier than October.
“There’s not a whole lot of science behind just inserting a guy into the lineup,” Kapler said. “I will say this, I would have, when Xander Bogaerts got to the big leagues, I would have stuck him at shortstop and never taken him out of the lineup. Given what I’ve seen from him, given what I’ve seen from him in the Futures Game from a scouting perspective, and ultimately the way he approaches an at-bat, the way he dominates the plate appearance with his eye.
“This sort of advanced stage that he’s at for his age, I want to see this guy get rolling, and I believe in him, and I think that he makes perfect sense in the lineup every day, never removing him. I don’t think he’s going to be intimidated by the spotlight, and I think from a talent perspective, he’s as good as [Will] Middlebrooks or [Stephen] Drew.”
With the ALCS now a best-of-three series, Kapler gave his prediction of which team will advance to the World Series.
“I hate to say this just because of my heart, how I feel about the Red Sox and how I feel about Boston, I think the Tigers are going to take this series,” Kapler said. “I just think , they just run out guy after guy after guy. It’s not taking anything away from [Jon] Lester, [Clay Buchholz], [John Lackey] and that great lineup. This is what I’ve said since the middle of the season as I started to really pay attention to the Detroit Tigers pitching staff. They are just head and shoulders above the rest of the staffs in the league. … I think the Red Sox are in trouble going forward in this series.”
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