Even with the series set to shift back to Fenway, the Boston Red Sox find themselves in a must-win situation in Detroit for ALCS Game 5. They have been here before.
Against the Indians in 2007, Boston fell 3 – 1 in Cleveland before returning home to take Games 6 and 7 for the victory. They were not so lucky in 2008, when a similar situation sent the Sox back to Tampa only to stall in Game 7 against a previously untested David Price.
This time is no different.
With Cy Young-hopeful Max Scherzer slated for Game 6 and Cy Young-winner Justin Verlander set to close out the series, the Sox are going to have trouble winning one game at home, let alone both. Makes sense about “must win” for ALCS Game 5 now, doesn’t it?
In order to push this series to a win-and-in situation, the Sox are going to have to rely on ace Jon Lester to muscle out a win against the Detroit Tigers. Outside of Game 4, Red Sox starters have been strong. The struggle then becomes a question of run support, where Detroit starters have held the Sox to a 1.00 ERA in this series so far.
Though the Red Sox have had more success manufacturing runs against the Tigers bullpen, hitting relievers for 7 runs and an average of .294 against.
If Lester and the Sox can chisel through the first seven, an ALCS Game 5 win could stand against a Game 2 grand slam as the key performance of the series.