- WIN A GAME IN BOSTON BEFORE HEADING HOME- The Tigers have won one of the first games in each playoff series that they’ve been in since 2011 besides twice. Both those times they got eliminated. The importance of winning one in Boston is huge. The Tigers have Sanchez and Scherzer going in Fenway and they won 1 of 3 at Fenway this year, so one game is very do-able for this squad
- SHUT DOWN THE BIG BATS- If the Tigers shut down the bigger bats in the Boston line-up, it’s a lot less scary. They can’t let Ellsbury do what Crisp did and shutting down Ortiz and Napoli would be huge. Pedroia will always be a “pest” for every team, but if the Tigers can hold two of those guys to a bad series with their good starting pitching, they have a lot better shot as repeating as AL champions in 2013.
- HAVE A SPARK- Austin Jackson is in a slump, he had a huge hit in Game 4 but aside from that he hasn’t helped the Tigers much at all. I wouldn’t completely mess with the line-up at this point, since he only leads off the game once and maybe leads off one more inning each game. Leading off can be hard, there’s pressure to get on base and sometimes not getting to see what the pitcher has that day before stepping up to the plate. Jackson has done a decent job in that spot since 2012 in the regular season, they just need him to relax at the plate and he needs to be more patient. The Tigers need Hunter, Cabrera and Fielder be the powerful and professional hitters they are this series and Jackson’s slump won’t hurt near as bad
- USE PERALTA IN LEFT- I think he’s done more with the bat that helped than more in the field that hurt so far. I’d play him, he’s the Tigers hottest hitter besides Victor Martinez (6 for 8 since Game 4)
- RELY ON STARTERS- After watching the ALDS, the only two relievers with full trust are Benoit and Smyly. Coke was clutch in the ALCS last year, so maybe he likes the postseason environment to pitch in, but I still don’t trust him. Stick with the starters as long as you can. Scherzer and Verlander proved they could come up big and Fister grinded out a decent start in Game 4. Sanchez could rebound too. I’d stick with them as long as I could.