The Red Sox have not announced their starting rotation for the ALCS. But it’s certain that Jon Lester will start Game 1 Saturday at Fenway Park against either the Athletics or Tigers.
John Farrell said on WEEI today that he would “probably lead off with Lester.” Translated that means, “Yes, Jon Lester starts Game 1.”
From there, the Red Sox have a lot of options that will hinge on the opponent.
Jake Peavy was terrific Tuesday night, albeit it for only 74 pitches and 5.2 innings. He could come back for Game 2 on regular rest. Peavy has not faced Oakland since April 23, 2012, and that could be a big advantage for him.
Peavy faced the Tigers once this season, in July in his final start for the White Sox, and allowed four runs over seven innings.
Then there is this: John Lackey is 9-5, 2.83 in 18 career starts at Oakland. That includes allowing two runs over seven innings on July 12. A bigger ballpark he is familiar with could suit Lackey well.
Clay Buchholz was shaky against Tampa Bay in Game 3 but he could slot into Game 2 if Farrell chooses.
However it shakes out, the Red Sox have major advantages in terms of rest and travel. Their pitchers will have three days off before Game 1. Meanwhile, the Athletics or Tigers face a long flight to Boston after their Game 5 Thursday.
The Red Sox also get extra time to prepare advance scouting reports, something that served them well for the Division Series. The Sox scored 26 runs in four games against the Rays and hit .286 with an .804 OPS. Their pitchers had a 3.03 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
• MLB has not announced start times. But here is what Fox just sent in an email:
Game 1: FOX Sports, Saturday, Oct. 12 (7:30 p.m. ET)
Game 2: FOX Sports, Sunday, Oct. 13 (8:00 p.m. ET)
Game Talent: Play-by-Play announcer Joe Buck is joined by analyst Tim McCarver with reporters Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews.