Looking ahead to ALCS Game 2: Tigers vs. Red Sox

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The Red Sox were held hitless through 8 1/3 innings in Saturday night’s 1-0 ALCS Game 1 loss to the Tigers and will be looking for much more offense in Game 2 on Sunday night at Fenway Park. But that’s going to be easier said than done because the likely American League Cy Young Award recipient, Max Scherzer, will be on the mound for visiting Detroit.

The broadcast of ALCS Game 2 begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX. We’ll have regular updates here on HBT.

Starting for the host Red Sox will be right-hander Clay Buchholz, who allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks in a six-inning ALDS Game 3 start against the Rays. Boston wound up losing that game on a walkoff homer, and the Tigers’ offense presents a much greater challenge than Tampa Bay’s. The American League Wild Card-winning Rays scored 700 runs during the regular season and finished with a +54 run differential. Detroit, the division champions in the American League Central, scored 796 regular-season runs and finished with a +172 run differential. Buchholz missed more than three months this summer with neck and shoulder injuries and did not make a start in the regular season against this Tigers team.

Scherzer faced the Red Sox twice this season and held them to four earned runs on 11 hits in 14 innings for a 2.57 ERA. He struck out 14 batters and issued only three walks in those 14 frames. The 29-year-old right-hander out of the University of Missouri had a brilliant 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 in 32 total starts.

The Red Sox are expected to shift their lineup a bit after Saturday’s frustrating Game 1 loss, with Mike Carp likely subbing in for Mike Napoli at first base and Jonny Gomes taking over for Daniel Nava in left field.

Detroit will probably stick with the same starting nine that squeezed out that 1-0 Game 1 win.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.