Shaughnessy's keys to finishing off Tigers

Shaughnessy's keys to finishing off Tigers
October 18, 2013, 10:45 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

The Red Sox are heading home to win the ALCS.

So says Dan Shaughnessy, and subtle nuances of that sentence can be debated later.

The Sox have two cracks at winning one game, but they'll have to beat Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

"If I were Scherzer or Verlander I'd say 'I'm not coming out of this game,'" says Shaughnessy.

On Saturday, Scherzer will be opposed by Clay Buchholz, who hasn't been sharp in the postseason.

"[Game 2] was his worst performance of the year, so he can only get better," says Shaughnessy.

Behind Buchholz will be the surprise story of the postseason - the bullpen.

Two weeks ago, most people would have said the bullpen was the weak spot for the playoff-bound Red Sox.

Heading into Game 6, the Red Sox hold a 3-2 lead that can be credited to the stellar performance of that very same bullpen.

Another surprise story has been the play of Xander Bogaerts, and the subsequent pinch-hit/run duties for Will Middlebrooks. The situation has shades of Jacoby Ellsbury, who, in the midst of a hot playoff run, supplanted the veteran Coco Crisp. 

Bogaerts will start at third base in Game 6 and will get a chance to show what he can do under the spotlight.