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October 18, 2013

Playoff Prospectus

ALCS Game Five Recap: Red Sox 4, Tigers 3

by Sam Miller


There are worse places to be than needing to win starts by Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. But, as they say, the Red Sox pitchers live in mansions, too.

The Tigers are on the ropes because of one inning. In five innings, Anibal Sanchez allowed one run, on five hits, with five strikeouts and no walks. Five-sixths of a great outing. In one inning, though, he allowed three runs on four hits. One bad inning, a 4-3 loss, and a trip to Boston with no margin left. So what led to the one bad inning?

First batter: Mike Napoli
If you buy the idea that pitchers are constantly in a state of finding and losing their command of certain pitches, you might have spotted this inning coming from the first pitch:

That’s a slider, inside, thigh high. Sanchez threw six sliders there all season, and only 34 sliders that missed on that side of the plate all season. It's a brutal pitch, and the only thing that kept it from being a worse outcome is that is was so brutal that Napoli wouldn't swing. The next pitch was also a slider,

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Raising Aces: Bush Lea... (10/18)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: AL... (10/17)
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Transaction Analysis: ... (10/18)

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