Boston's Game 3 starter John Lackey, here pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, was 0-2 against Detroit in the regular season. (Jim Rogash / Getty Images)
Detroit — The Boston Red Sox salvaged a split at home to open the American League Championship Series.
Now, Red Sox manager John Farrell turns to veteran right-hander John Lackey for Game 3 today against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
“They have a great lineup,” Lackey said of the Tigers. “They have a deep lineup, one through nine you have to make pitches. All of them have some power and it’s going to be a tough challenge for sure.”
Lackey lost both starts to the Tigers this season. He allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings in a 4-3 loss at Comerica Park and three runs and seven hits in 71⁄3 innings of a 3-0 loss at Fenway Park.
Several Tigers have hit Lackey well: Austin Jackson (3-for-8), Miguel Cabrera (4-for-12, one homer), Prince Fielder (4-for-9), Victor Martinez (11-for-27) and Jhonny Peralta (11-for-31, four RBIs).
“(Cabrera’s) like David (Ortiz), there’s not one way I can go about it,” Lackey said. “I’m going to have to make a lot of good pitches in a lot of different spots because he’s been good.”
This is Lackey’s first ALCS appearance since a 2009 loss to the Yankees when he played with the Angels.
Farrell said Mike Napoli would return to first base, and he could put Jonny Gomes in left field a second straight game.
Napoli hit .259 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs during the regular season, but is 2-for-17 in the postseason.
Gomes hit .247 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs during the regular season. He is 3-for-13 with two RBIs in the postseason.
“We’ll probably be back to a similar lineup we saw in Game 1,” Farrell said. “The one thing that we can’t measure is the intangibles that Jonny Gomes brings. And so the full lineup tomorrow is still yet to be decided. But that’s another thing that’s being factored in here, considered.”
Stay the course
Gomes, who had an infield single in the ninth in Game 2 and scored the winning run, would love to be in the lineup — to face Tigers starter Justin Verlander.
“I’d love to be in there, without a doubt,” Gomes said. “He’s a guy that can throw strikes when he wants and balls when he wants. When he sees guys up there being aggressive, he can throw all three of his pitches for balls on purpose and at the same time he can throw all three of his pitches for strikes. It’s tougher than it sounds.
“He’s tough, but at the same time he’s a game over .500 so he’s been beat. We just have to grind it out like we have been doing.”
Gomes also said the Red Sox can’t change their approach at the plate, even though Anibal Sanchezand Max Scherzer carried no-hitters deep into the first two games of the ALCS.
“We have to be us, the 2013 Red Sox,” Gomes said. “We can’t change anything. Those first six innings of both games are not us. We have to get back to what got us here. To tell you the truth we’re so deep 1 through 9 that I can’t think of any other reason but to tip your hat to those pitchers.
“Those two games are probably the top two games I’ve ever seen pitched as far as like, three ball counts they didn’t give in. They weren’t looking for the perfect game. They were fine hitting a couple of guys, they were fine walking a couple of guys. They just lived and died on the edges.”