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October 12, 2013

Red Sox vs. Tigers worth the wait


Since 1994, the Tigers have made the playoffs four times and the Red Sox have made it 10 times. Yet, they never crossed paths before now.

However, there still are some postseason footnotes.

In 1967, the Red Sox, Tigers and Minnesota Twins battled to the bitter end of the regular season. The Tigers lost the second game of a doubleheader on the final day while the Twins lost 5-3 to Boston, giving the Red Sox first place in the AL and a World Series berth.

The Impossible Dream 1967 Red Sox team went on to lose the seven-game World Series 4-3 to St. Louis. The Tigers beat the Cardinals the next year in the 1968 Fall Classic.

This first postseason meeting should be an absolute heavyweight matchup worth the long, long wait.

Tonight, former Red Sox hurler Anibal Sanchez, a tough right-hander, will pitch for Detroit opposite Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester.

“Two old teams so it’s going to be a fun series to be a part of,” Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew said. “It’s going to be a battle back and forth. We’ve got pitching. They’ve got pitching. They obviously have hitting and we’ve got hitting, too. It’s going to be an interesting series to see how it plays itself out.”

Want offense? Detroit’s batting lineup, behind Triple Crown king Miguel Cabrera, is just as dangerous as Boston’s. The Tigers finished with the second most runs in the majors (796) behind only the Red Sox (853).

Want pitching? All four Red Sox starters in this ALCS are former All-Stars.

And Detroit’s starting rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Sanchez and Doug Fister is the best of the best.

Verlander was the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner. Scherzer was 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA this season and likely will win this year’s AL Cy Young. Sanchez, meanwhile, posted an AL-best 2.57 ERA.

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