The Red Sox shifted their rotation for the American League Championship Series and will have Clay Buchholz start Game 2 instead of John Lackey.
Lackey was pushed back to Game 3 and Jake Peavy will start Game 4.
“We felt like with Clay falling in behind [Game 1 starter Jon Lester], it gives us a contrast of style. And that would be the case with John Lackey as well,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday.
“I thought Clay threw the ball well in his start down in Tampa. That’s not to say John Lackey’s outing here was less than [that]. He pitched us to a win against Tampa in Game 2. But with the rotation going forward the first two days, we feel good about where we are.”
Lackey allowed four runs on seven hits over 5⅓ innings in Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series. Buchholz gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings in Game 3.
Counting that start, Lackey has a 5.57 earned run average in his last five starts going back to the regular season. He pitched well against the Tigers in Comerica Park on June 2, giving up two runs over seven innings.
Lackey will go nine days between starts. To combat that, he threw 30 pitches over two innings in a brief simulated game after the Sox worked out Friday afternoon. He faced several teammates.
In a strange twist, the Tigers were stretching for their workout and watched the whole thing.
The Tigers will go with a rotation of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister after Anibal Sanchez.
Only five Red Sox players have faced Sanchez. Shane Victorino has the most experience, going 10 for 43 against the righthander.
Beyond that, only Stephen Drew (5 of 20), David Ross (2 of 11), David Ortiz (3 for 3, two home runs) and Jonny Gomes (1 for 4) have faced Sanchez.
“Four-pitch pitcher, keeps the ball down,” Drew said. “I look for something I can eliminate that he’s not throwing for a strike and go from there.”
Sanchez allowed only nine home runs over 182 innings this season and led the American League with a 2.57 earned run average. But he was hit hard in Game 3 of the Division Series against Oakland, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits over 4⅓ innings. Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith homered off Sanchez in that game.
Farrell is not particularly close to Tigers manager Jim Leyland. But they were on the 2008 American League All-Star team coaching staff under Terry Francona.
“It was a day or a day and a half in which to be around him, listen to him,” Farrell said. “I know he and [Francona] probably have a longer history together, and to hear their bantering back and forth and the stories they shared. But he’s always fun to be around.
“I would consider him one of the caretakers of the game because of the long history in it, the success he’s had. And I think the way people view him, with the utmost respect in the game of baseball.”
Farrell said Will Middlebrooks would start Game 1 at third base but left open the idea of rookie Xander Bogaerts starting Game 2. Farrell also plans to work Ross and Gomes into the lineup despite Detroit starting four righthanders in the series.
“The strength of this team has been the depth of its roster. There are going to be some matchups that we think are more favorable in one case or another,” Farrell said. “They’re going to be involved. We envision that to be the case over the course of the seven-game series.”
Mike Carp, another righthanded hitter, said is he ready.
“I only got one at-bat this last series. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to get 12 this series,” he said. “Just kind of got to wait our turn. Hopefully that right opportunity, that right matchup presents itself and I can try to get the job done.”
Quintin Berry is in a unique position. He was a regular player in the playoffs for the Tigers last season, appearing in 11 games and getting 29 at-bats. Now he’s a pinch runner for the Red Sox.
“He never got thrown out. I saw him the other night steal a big base. It’s a weapon, it really is. It’s a nice weapon to have, and he’s really good at it,” Leyland said.
Berry said he was hoping for this matchup when the Red Sox obtained him from the Royals in late August.
“Dream come true for me,” he said.. “The Tigers gave me a great opportunity and I have a lot of friend there. Now the Red Sox have done the same thing. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back to the World Series and this time win it.”
MLB looks West
Joe West, baseball’s longest-tenured umpire with 36 years in the game, will lead the crew assigned to the ALCS. This is West’s 21st career postseason assignment, including his eighth LCS.
West will be joined by regular season crew chief Dale Scott, Rob Drake, Dan Iassogna, Ron Kulpa, and Alfonso Marquez.
Scott, Drake and Iassogna worked the NL wild-card game with West, while Kulpa was assigned to the AL tiebreaker game between Tampa Bay and Texas.
Lefthander Felix Doubront was the only player on the roster not to get in the Division Series. The first five hitters in the Detroit order — Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez — are 3 for 21 against him with no home runs . . . Lester will be making his fourth Game 1 postseason series start on Saturday, the most in franchise history. Josh Beckett, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez each had three. Lester has a 2.18 ERA in his previous Game 1s . . . The Red Sox hired Farrell as manager last Oct. 20. If the series goes the distance, Game 7 would be exactly one year later. The ALCS has gone seven games the last four times the Red Sox were in it.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.