The American League postseason race is focused on the west and the Wild Cards.
As for the AL East and AL Central, the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers both hold comfortable leads as the final month of the season winds down.
The Tigers have received all the attention regarding which team looks like it will represent the AL in the World Series. Just look at that roster.
Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez and Omar Infante offensively, and of course Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and AL Cy Young hopeful Max Scherzer on the mound.
But meanwhile up in New England, the Red Sox are methodically and quietly preparing themselves for a deep postseason run.
Last season, all the hype was focused on Boston for all the wrong reasons. Bobby Valentine’s style didn’t exactly jive with Red Sox Nation as he publicly feuded with fan favorites Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia.
Of course, the chicken and beer incidents from the Red Sox clubhouse did not help the franchise’s image either.
But this year with Valentine gone and John Farrell in, the Red Sox have rediscovered their identity. Basically, the team is a compilation of role players all contributing, rather than having a handful of superstars and then the rest of the team just filling in.
Bringing in players such as Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes to go along with Pedroia, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury has been great for this team’s chemistry.
On the pitching end, the team has been able to weather the loss of Clay Buchholz. John Lackey has pitched better than his 9-12 record suggests. Jon Lester and Felix Doubront have been consistent, and Jake Peavy is shaping up to be one of the better trade-deadline pickups by any team this season.
The Red Sox may not have the star power of the Tigers, but in a playoff series, the Tigers know they’d have their hands full in being matched up with Boston. The Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s could also be dangerous in a short series, but the Red Sox and Tigers are the teams built to get to the World Series.
Don’t expect the Red Sox to take their feet off the gas pedal just because they’ve opened an 8 1/2-game lead in the division. Once the playoffs start, there will be no time for letting up.
An ALCS between the Tigers and Red Sox would be a great matchup and hopefully an exciting series. Surely the Red Sox would welcome this matchup, since they would prove that a team of role players could be just as effective as a team of superstars.
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