Game 1 of the American League Championship Series will be a tough act to follow. No, make that an impossible act.
It's very, very likely that in Game 2, which pits Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer against Boston righty Clay Buchholz and is slated for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX, there will not be a no-hitter going until there's one out in the ninth inning.
Slim would be a safe word to describe the chances that the Red Sox will end up striking out 17 times.
You probably wouldn't want to wager that Detroit's starter, even though it's an AL Cy Young Award favorite in 21-game-winner Scherzer, will strike out 12 and walk six over six innings while throwing 116 pitches, as Anibal Sanchez did in Game 1.
In other words, enough about the Tigers' wacky, tension-filled, 1-0 win in Game 1. It's time for the second game in this best-of-seven set, and there figures to be even more drama on tap.
In the aftermath of the Tigers' Game 1 victory, the Red Sox were left wondering where their potent offense went, but if we've learned anything about this team over the course of 162 games and about its veteran players over the course of the last 10-plus years, it's that their memories are pretty short.
"I think we'll be ready to go tomorrow night," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We have the ability to put tonight behind us, and we'll be ready to go."
Meanwhile, the Tigers would like to tap into some more of the road mojo that let them escape with one tough win. They didn't exactly dent the Green Monster on Saturday, as it turned out. They got only six hits off Red Sox starter Jon Lester, and they struck out four times. Their lone run came on a bloop single by Jhonny Peralta.
And the guy they're facing on Sunday, Buchholz, was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in the regular season.
"We could have done a little better with opportunities," Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said. "We have to do a little bit better. But what you're seeing is a lot of good pitching. There [were] two playoff games today, both 1-0 scores. That tells you the quality of pitching in the postseason. We have to do better with our opportunities, but on this one we were able to hold on."
The Game 2 starters bring different skill sets but huge challenges.
Scherzer has done it all this year, from a 21-3 campaign with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings to his two wins over Oakland in the AL Division Series -- one as a starter and one as a reliever. Now he's participating in his second straight ALCS, and he knows what he's dealing with in the Red Sox.
"Well, they're just a great team," Scherzer said. "They can grind at-bats out, they don't chase a lot. They foul off pitches. ... You can mention all those things they're very good at; it comes down to attacking the hitters and making sure I'm working ahead in the count."
He has been doing that a lot this year, though Leyland doesn't feel the need to explain his hurler's special season in specific terms.
"I think he's one of those guys that it happens now and then, guys get on a roll, whether it's the guy shooting three-pointers or hot field-goal kicker or whatever it is," Leyland said. "In sports, guys get on a roll from time to time. And he's been a positive roll. ... And that's the type of year he's had."
Buchholz might have put up a big Cy Young challenge if he hadn't missed three months with a strained bursa sac. He was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA until he went on the disabled list in June, and 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in the four starts he made after returning in September. In his only postseason start of 2013 thus far, against Tampa Bay in the AL Division Series, he made a quality start, giving up three runs in six innings in a no-decision.
"I wish he wouldn't have missed the three months, I can tell you that," Farrell said. "But every path to a certain player is going to take a different turn on the way. And to say that he's more rested, well, he was also recovering from an injury.
"There's no restrictions on how we plan for tomorrow or plan for a given start. So we feel like he's in good shape physically going into tomorrow."
Tigers: Cabrera exits Game 1 early
Third baseman Miguel Cabrera was removed from Saturday's game in the bottom of the eighth inning and replaced by Ramon Santiago for defensive purposes, as Cabrera continues to struggle from the ailments in his lower body that have plagued him throughout the last month of the season and into October. Cabrera singled his first time up and added a walk in the sixth inning but moved very slowly around the bases.
"We know we're handicapped a little bit because of our [Cabrera] situation," Leyland said. "I think the biggest key in that situation was that the two guys that they had coming up to lead off that inning were [Shane] Victorino and [Dustin] Pedroia.
"Both are excellent baseball players, both smart. Victorino could have dropped the bunt down on Miggy. Pedroia could have dropped a bunt on Miggy. We felt like that was the best way to go."
• The Tigers won Game 1 of an ALCS for the fourth time, following similar victories in 2012, 2006 and 1984. In each of those years, the Tigers went on to win the series. In 22 postseason series, the Tigers have won Game 1 six times (1940 World Series, 1984 World Series, 2006 ALCS, 2012 ALDS and 2012 ALCS). In every case except the 1940 Fall Classic, the Tigers went on to win that series.
• Cabrera's single in the first inning extended his streak of reaching base safely in postseason games with the Tigers to 30, extending his big league postseason record.
Red Sox: Still working the count
Even though the Sox lost Game 1, 1-0, and only got one hit, they still did what they do in regard to seeing a lot of pitches. Sanchez pitched no-hit baseball for six innings and struck out 12, but he walked six and threw 116 pitches.
Farrell saw his offense's continued patience as another positive moving forward.
"We left eight men on base," he said. "[A] characteristic of this team all year is to build a pitch count."
• Prior to Saturday, the Red Sox had been shut out at home in a postseason game only once: Game 5 of the 1918 World Series against the Cubs, which the Red Sox lost, 3-0. The ALCS opener was also the first 1-0 postseason game in the history of Fenway Park.
• At 21 years and 11 days, infielder Xander Bogaerts became the youngest player in an ALCS game since Francisco Rodriguez (Angels) in 2002, and the youngest position player in a ALCS contest since Alex Rodriguez, then with Seattle, in 1995.
• The Tigers became the first team in postseason history to record back-to-back postseason starts of at least five innings in which the starting pitchers allowed no hits. Justin Verlander didn't allow a hit until two outs in the seventh inning against the A's on Thursday in Game 5 of the Division Series, and Sanchez left Saturday's game after six no-hit innings.
• Each of Boston's last four AL Championship Series (2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008) have gone the full seven games; these are the only seven-game ALCS since a Red Sox win in 1986.