Boston: Big Beards, Bigger Night.

Updated: October 17, 2013
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Last night, Jim Leyland decided to take a chance and get a little creative with his lineup, a chance that paid off for the Tigers in a big way. Though Boston’s pitcher, Jake Peavy, struggled to get his pitching down, I believe it was Leyland’s shuffling of players that heated up the bats for Detroit. Austin Jackson has really been cold this postseason for the Tigers, so Leyland dropped Jackson to the eighth spot in hopes of relaxing the outfielder. With bases loaded, Jackson stepped up to bat. He would force in a run after a four-pitch walk. Feeling more relaxed, Jackson and the Tigers took over in the second inning, scoring five runs. Jackson would finish the night with two singles and two walks. Before last night, Jackson was 3 for 33, including 18 strikeouts in the postseason. “It felt good to contribute to a win,” Jackson said. “Just get a chance to go out there and not put so much pressure on yourself, just have fun.” 

     Leyland’s revamped lineup, combined with a struggling Peavy, would prove to be detrimental for Boston. The Tigers would swing their way to a 7-3 victory, tying the series at 2-2. The Tigers’ early lead would give them the momentum they needed to pull off the win. Peavy had a chance to slow the Tigers down and put an end to their rally. One strikeout could have stopped the Tigers, but as Peavy continued to struggle, Detroit blew the game wide open.  

    When asked about the lineup change, Leyland took no credit. “This has nothing to do with Jim Leyland; this is about the players. They executed, they came out, they played well,” he said. And what did the players think of the change? “That was pretty good. He switched things up, kind of shake it up a little bit,” Torii Hunter said. “It gave us a different mindset. Miggy hitting second, me leading off. It gave us a different mindset to make things happen.” With the Red Sox offense struggling to get something going, some believe Boston may want to take Leyland’s approach and shake things up as well. “The one thing that we’ve maintained is a constant approach with the lineup and not creating further uncertainty. I think our guys have responded well to that,” said Boston’s manager John Farrell, when asked if they would make changes to their rotation.     

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Boston and Detroit will face off tonight in a rematch of Game 1. Once again Boston’s Jon Lester will face Detroit’s Anibel Sanchez. In their first matchup, the Tigers clawed their way to victory, winning 1-0. Will the Tigers do it again? Will the Red Sox take Leyland’s approach to a struggling offense and shuffle their rotation? Many believe tonight is a do or die game for Boston, as they will face the Tigers best defensive weapons in Scherzer and Verlander come games six and seven. So batter up Boston, or your beards will soon be trimmed down. 

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