A look at the best-of-seven American League championship series between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox:
Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Saturday, at Boston (8:07 p.m.); Game 2, Sunday, at Boston (8:15 p.m.); Game 3, Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Detroit (4:07 p.m.); Game 4, Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Detroit (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 5, Thursday, Oct. 17, at Detroit (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 6, Saturday, Oct. 19, at Boston (4:37 p.m.); x-Game 7, Sunday, Oct. 20, at Boston (8:07 p.m.). (All games on FOX).
Season Series: Tigers won 4-3.
Tigers: CF Austin Jackson (.272, 12 HRs, 49 RBIs), RF Torii Hunter (.304, 17, 84), 3B Miguel Cabrera (MLB-leading .348, 44, 137), 1B Prince Fielder (.279, 25, 106), DH Victor Martinez (.301, 14, 83), LF Jhonny Peralta (.303, 11, 55), 2B Omar Infante (.318, 10, 51), C Alex Avila (.227, 11, 47), SS Jose Iglesias (.303, 3, 29 with Boston and Detroit).
Red Sox: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.298, 9, 53, 92 runs, MLB-best 52/56 SBs), RF Shane Victorino (.294, 15, 61), 2B Dustin Pedroia (.301, 9, 84, 42 doubles, 17 SBs), DH David Ortiz (.309, 30, 103, .959 OPS), 1B Mike Napoli (.259, 23, 92), LF Daniel Nava (.303, 12, 66), C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.273, 14, 65), SS Stephen Drew (.253, 13, 67, 8 errors), 3B Will Middlebrooks (.227, 17, 49).
Tigers: RH Anibal Sanchez (14-8, AL-best 2.57 ERA), RH Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90, 240 Ks), RH Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46), RH Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67).
Red Sox: LH Jon Lester (15-8, 2.75, 213 1-3 IP), RH Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74), RH John Lackey (10-13, 3.52, 2 CG), RH Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17 with White Sox and Red Sox).
Tigers: RH Joaquin Benoit (4-1, 2.01, 24/26 saves), LH Drew Smyly (6-0, 2.37), RH Jose Veras (0-5, 3.02, 21/25 saves with Houston and Detroit), LH Jose Alvarez (1-5, 5.82 in 14 games, 6 starts), RH Al Alburquerque (4-3, 4.59, 70 Ks, 34 BBs in 49 innings), RH Rick Porcello (13-8, 4.32, 32 appearances, 29 starts), LH Phil Coke (0-5, 5.40).
Red Sox: RH Koji Uehara (4-1, 1.09 ERA, 21/24 saves, 101 Ks, 9 BBs, 73 games), RH Junichi Tazawa (5-4, 3.16, 71 games), LH Craig Breslow (5-2, 1.81), RH Brandon Workman (6-3, 4.97 in 20 games, 3 starts), RH Ryan Dempster (8-9, 4.57 in 32 games, 29 starts), LH Franklin Morales (2-2, 4.62), LH Felix Doubront (11-6, 4.32 in 29 games, 27 starts).
Charter members of the American League, the Red Sox and Tigers were AL East rivals from 1969-97 until Detroit shifted to the Central. They have never met in the playoffs before. ... Both clubs were involved in one of the most significant trades before the July 31 deadline, a three-team deal with the White Sox that sent Peavy from Chicago to Boston, and Iglesias from the Red Sox to the Tigers. Iglesias, a slick-fielding rookie, was obtained to play shortstop in place of Peralta, a two-time All-Star suspended 50 games as part of baseball's Biogenesis drug investigation. Once he returned, Peralta was shifted to left field. But when the Tigers played a decisive Game 5 in their division series against Oakland, manager Jim Leyland started Peralta at SS instead of the slumping Iglesias. Don Kelly was inserted in LF. Peralta batted .417 in the series with a crucial home run and 5 RBIs. Iglesias went 1 for 12 (.083). It will be interesting to see how Leyland plays it against Boston's high-powered bats. ... Another offensive force for the Tigers was Martinez, who played 1½ seasons with the Red Sox from 2009-10. The four-time All-Star got a $50 million contract from Detroit and batted .450 (9 for 20) in the ALDS with a tying homer late in Game 4. ... The Game 1 starters, Sanchez and Lester, were teammates on Boston's Double-A Portland affiliate in 2005. After the season, Sanchez was traded along with Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins in a deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. ... The Tigers took three of four at home against Boston in June, then the Red Sox won two of three during the Fenway Park rematch in early September. Fister beat Lackey 3-0 in the opener before Lester edged Scherzer 2-1 in the middle game. Boston busted loose for a 20-4 rout in the finale, with Ortiz hitting two of the team's eight homers. ... Sanchez did not face the Red Sox this season. Ortiz, though, is 3 for 3 with two homers against the AL's ERA leader. Big Papi has three homers in 15 at-bats against Scherzer, and two against Verlander. ... Hunter (.433), Cabrera (.526) and Martinez (.429) all have had significant success against Lester. The trio combined for nine extra-base hits and 10 RBIs. Peralta has two homers and five RBIs. Even though the Tigers lost twice to Lester this year, they hit .321 against him — the highest average by any team the lefty faced more than once this season. ... Other than Peralta (seven RBIs in 17 at-bats), Buchholz has shut down the Tigers' big bats.
Tigers: Detroit (93-69) won the AL Central by one game over Cleveland, but that slim margin was deceiving. The Tigers were in control from mid-August on. After clinching the division, Detroit lost its final three regular-season games at lowly Miami, totaling only three runs. Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter against the Tigers in the finale. But they bounced back quickly, beating the AL West champion Athletics in the division series for the second consecutive year behind another Game 5 gem from Verlander in Oakland. After losing Game 3 at home, Detroit rallied from three runs down in Game 4 to extend its season — thanks in large part to Scherzer. Making his first relief appearance in two years, he escaped a major jam in the eighth inning to earn his second win of the series. Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the clincher, a 3-0 victory that put the Tigers in their third straight ALCS. They lost to Texas in 2011 and swept the New York Yankees last year before getting swept by San Francisco in the World Series. Detroit hasn't won it all since 1984, and this star-studded team is built for a championship run right now. ... Tigers pitchers set a major league record with 1,428 strikeouts this season. ... Martinez hit .361 after the All-Star break and Fielder batted .337 in September. ... The bullpen was a work in progress early, but Benoit has performed well as the closer and Smyly has been terrific for the most part. ... Scherzer was baseball's lone 20-game winner, and the Tigers have the same excellent depth in their rotation as they did when they won the pennant last year. ... Leyland is making his eighth playoff appearance. He is 42-36 in postseason games.