When the Red Sox dealt him to the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline, Jose Iglesias figured their paths would cross down the line.
That it's the ALCS only makes sense.
“Absolutely,” Iglesias said. “Boston’s been playing really well this year and they’ve got an amazing team. I saw this coming.”
Pegged at one point as the Red Sox's shortstop of the future, Iglesias is now in that role for the Tigers. In 46 regular season with Detroit, Iglesias hit .259, but he made his biggest impact with his glove.
“As far as his defense, he’s really helped us out there, his hitting as well, his speed, he’s just overall a really great player,” said slugger Prince Fielder. “He’s really been a good asset.”
In his first full season in the majors, Iglesias went from starting the season with the Sox to being sent to the minors to being promoted midseason. The postseason is just another twist in a year that's seen plenty of them.
After going 0 for 12 in the first three games of the ALDS against the Oakland As, he admitted there was a learning curve.
“The playoff game is hard,” Iglesias said. “A lot of good pitchers. You’ve got to do little things, like move the guy over, try to be on base no matter what, and it’s going to be a good series for the fans and for baseball.”
Wanting to add pop to the lineup, Leyland went with veteran Jhonny Peralta in the decisive Game 5, but said he Iglesias would start Game 1 on Saturday.
"He's a terrific young player, there's no question about that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I think people have a tendency to forget how young he is, it's a pretty big stage. He's a very energetic player, sometimes too energetic with a terrific, terrific future. He runs good. We all know about his defensive ability. I think he's going to be a good hitter at some point. Probably swings too much like a big man right now. But just all kind of talent. And he's been a great addition to us."
• After Anibal Snachez, the Tigers rotation will be Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.
• Torii Hunter said he considered signing with the Red Sox in the offseason before ultimately cutting a two-year $26 million deal with the Tigers. Close relationships with David Ortiz and John Lackey made the Sox tempting, he said.
“I definitely expected those guys to bounce back,” Hunter said. “I looked at their pitching rotation, pitching and defense win games. With David Ortiz you can never count him out. Dustin Pedroia’s a gamer and I love him. looked at it, I considered it, trust me.”
• More than a few Tigers were still groggy after getting in at 9 a.m. following their Game 5 win in Oakland. “We’re used to getting in at nine,” Leyland said. “Usually it’s not after a game. It was a little rough, to be honest with you. But probably the best long flight we’ve ever had, obviously, for the right reasons.”