BOSTON -- The last time Jon Lester faced the Tigers, on Sept. 3, the Red Sox came out on top, 2-1. And behind the plate for the Sox? David Ross.
Tonight, in Game 1 of the ALDS, Lester is facing Detroit again. And behind the plate for the Sox?
Ross made 33 starts this season and worked with Lester in 11, more than any other pitcher. In those starts, Lester went 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA. But if you take out the June 11 stinker against the Rays, when he gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, Lester’s ERA with Ross behind the plate would be 3.44.
In the Sept. 3 game, Ross helped Lester limit the Tigers to eight hits and one run over seven innings with no walks and nine strikeouts.
"That [game] was definitely factored in” to the decision to start Ross, said manager John Farrell. "There's some familiarity with [Tigers Game 1 starter Anibal] Sanchez even though Sanchez is tougher on righties. The depth of our roster and the depth of our players has been a main contributor to our success this year. and we look to take advantage of that as best we can.
"The game in early September with Jon and David pairing up, that was one of the primary reasons."
-- Farrell said Game 4 starter Jake Peavy is available out of the bullpen tonight. But he added Peavy would only be used in specific circumstances and not in place of right-handers Junichi Tazawa or Brandon Workman.
-- Miguel Cabrera is 10-for-19 (.526) with a home run and three RBI in his career against Lester.
-- Shane Victorino has the most at-bats against Sanchez, going 10-for-43 (.233) with a home run and two RBI. Only four other Sox batters have faced the former Red Sox minor-leaguer: Stephen Drew, 5-for-18 (.278); David Ortiz, 3-for-3 (1.000, with two home runs and four RBI), and Ross, 2-for-11 (.182).
-- The Red Sox stole 123 bases in the regular season, getting caught just 19 times, for a success rate of 87 percent, best in the majors. The Tigers stole 35 bases, fewest in the majors, getting caught 20 times, for a success rate of 64 percent, better than only the Twins and Diamondbacks. The Sox are 6-for-7 in the postseason, 86 percent, leading in all categories. The Tigers are 0-for-3.