Sox not as familiar with potential ALCS foe

Sox not as familiar with potential ALCS foe
October 10, 2013, 8:00 pm
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BOSTON – After 19 regular season games and six spring training games, the Red Sox were about as familiar with the Rays as any team could have been with an opponent. There were not a lot of secrets to be unearthed going into the postseason.
 
With the A’s and Tigers set to play Thursday night in the decisive Game 5 of their American League Division Series, the Sox are still waiting to find out who they will be playing in Game 1 of the ALCS Saturday night at Fenway Park. Whoever it is, the Sox will not have the same degree of familiarity they had with the Rays.
 
The Sox played seven games against the Tigers, going 3-4 – 2-1 at Fenway, 1-3 at Detroit. They played the A’s six times, going 3-3 – 2-1 at Fenway, 1-2 at Oakland.
 
Asked how the A’s and Tigers compare as potential opponents, manager John Farrell replied:
 
"Four-and-a-half hours less travel time to one."
 
Farrell’s initial response was somewhat tongue in cheek – although, not without merit – before he turned more serious.
 
"Very good lineups. Very strong offensive teams. One does it a little bit differently than another. Oakland's going to have the ability to match up and use maybe a full roster a little bit more readily than maybe Detroit, where there's more of a stable or consistent lineup. But either one, no less potent than the other. Both have strong starting pitching. Either team that we play, this is going to be another steep challenge."
 
Without their own familiarity to lean on, the Sox will rely more on their advance scouting reports in this round.
 
"We've had people following both Detroit and Oakland for quite a while,” Farrell said. “We'll adjust on the fly here after the final out tonight. We've got our meeting set for tomorrow, but from an internal standpoint and all of the information that has accumulated to what [scouts] Steve Langone and Dave Klipstein have done in person out in the field ahead of us, particularly Steve Langone. He's the guy that's been with us from day one of spring training and been out ahead of us the entire season."
 
Both the A’s and Tigers have starting pitchers whom the Sox did not face in the regular season, including the A’s Dan Straily, who has never pitched against the Sox, and former Red Sox minor leaguer Anibal Sanchez with the Tigers, who faced them just once, in 2006 while with the Marlins.
 
“That’s where we’re going to rely on what we talked about with the advance scouting,” Farrell said. “The number of looks we've had on those individual pitchers you mentioned, the work that will be done on video internally here, our players will get a clear picture in addition to their own use of video. But first-hand experience, we're going to be short on. But the best that we can do to give them tendencies to outline what a pitcher might look to do in certain situations, counts, otherwise, the more we can rehearse and rehash that, maybe we put our lineup in a better position to succeed."
 
After spending parts of the last five seasons in the AL Central with the White Sox, right-hander Jake Peavy is as familiar with the Tigers as anyone on the roster.
 
“We’ve been watching some video and watching their games, preparing to face either team,” Peavy said. “I know the Tigers very well. I feel like I know that roster, the way they like to use guys. And getting ready for Oakland, we’ll watch the game tonight once again, watch it with a lot of interest but also you’ll be watching with the way you watch tape, watching at-bats and situations, getting prepared. It doesn’t matter, they’re both really good teams. They’re both complete teams that are going to prove to be a big challenge, very good offenses, very good pitching. But if you want to be great, you got to beat great teams and we certainly think we can beat either team.”
 
His preferences?
 
“I don’t know if I have a preference, I really don’t,” Peavy said. “I think both of them create big challenges in different ways for us and neither opponent is going to be easy. We understand that at this point in time. But I don’t want it to be easy. Losing Game 3 and Game 4 [of the ALDS] being the way it was, it makes it that much sweeter when you are able to show your grit, show your toughness as a team, stay together in tough environments and win. So we’ll be all right.”