Boston Red Sox fielders were 5th best in the American League at turning batted balls into outs. The Detroit Tigers defense ranked 10th in the AL.
Total Zone Fielding and Baseball Info Solutions Defensive Runs Saved both concur that Boston is an above average fielding squad while the Tigers pretty much stink.
The Tigers biggest problem spots on defense are in right field (Torii Hunter) and at the infield corners (Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera). Certainly Boston hitters like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia could pile up bloop hits all series long.
Fortunately the Tigers lineup is loaded and their starting rotation is the greatest of the century. Jim Leyland‘s team may beat the Red Sox and advance to the World Series but it won’t be because of their fielding prowess.
When it comes to starting pitching there is no team in the 2013 playoffs with a better staff than the Detroit Tigers. In fact Jim Leyland is sending to the hill the best starting rotation since the great Leo Mazzone/Bobby Cox teams of the 1990’s in Atlanta.
The last team with four starters with 4+ WAR is the 1997 Atlanta Braves. That was the Tom Glavine/Greg Maddux/John Smoltz and Denny Neagle version of the Braves. Each of those four guys logged 230 innings for Bobby Cox that season.
Back to the Tigers, Rick Porcello is their fifth starter and he has posted 3 WAR over 29 starts. This is equal to the value provided this season by C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana and Andy Pettitte. That is some awesome fifth starter (or long reliever in the playoffs).
To summarize the Detroit Tigers have arguably three number one starters plus a two and a three. That is a stacked rotation.