(SportsNetwork.com) - If you would have said a year ago that the Boston Red Sox would be back in the American League Championship Series this season, you likely would have been laughed at. But, one year removed from losing 93 games, that is exactly the position the Red Sox find themselves in, as they kick off the best-of-seven set versus the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on Saturday. Boston is back in this round for the first time since 2008 after upending the Tampa Bay Rays in four games of the ALDS. Only two teams were worse than Boston in the AL in 2012, leading to the dismissal of manager Bobby Valentine after just one season. So, out with the old and in the new, as the team hired John Farrell away from Toronto to be its new skipper. All Farrell did was put himself atop most peoples AL Manager of the Year ballots, as he guided the Red Sox to a 28-game turnaround and ended the year 97-65, leading the club to its first AL East title since their World Series championship season of 2007. The 97 wins were also the second most for the team since 1978. Farrell, of course, was the Red Sox pitching coach under Terry Francona, and his impact was immediately evident, especially among the starting staff which saw its ERA decrease by nearly two runs from the prior season. Nobody benefited from having Farrell back more than Game 1 starter Jon Lester, who was a miserable 9-14 in 2012, but bounced back to go 15-8 this past season, while pitching to a 3.75 ERA. Lester gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings in a win over the Rays in the ALDS and has held the opposition to a .199 batting average with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks in 49 2/3 postseason innings. Including his Game 1 win over the Rays, Lester is 8-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star break. Hes also allowed three runs or less in eight of his nine postseason starts. "The more serious the game is, the better he gets," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "Sometimes when youre facing teams when you maybe dont have the record or the lineup isnt as strong, maybe you can let off a little bit. But he has the ability to turn it on whenever he wants. So if hes in trouble, hes got no problem getting out of it." Detroit, meanwhile, is back in this round for the third straight season after a hard-fought five-game win over the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. Justin Verlander flirted with a no-hitter in the clincher and wound up giving up two hits over eight scoreless innings in the Tigers 3-0 win. "I can usually tell by the look on his face and his demeanor prior to a game when hes zeroed in and locked in," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, "and he was locked in tonight." Now the Tigers turn their attention toward the Red Sox, as they try to get back to the World Series for a second straight season. Detroit went 93-69 to win a third straight AL Central crown thanks to another amazing campaign from Miguel Cabrera, and despite a wildly inconsistent season from Verlander. While Verlander struggled, the rest of the staff thrived, specifically right- hander Max Scherzer, who enjoyed the best year of his career, as he won an MLB-best 21 games, while pitching to a 2.90 ERA and striking out 240 batters over a career-high 214 innings. In Verlander, Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez the Tigers produced three 200- strikeout pitchers on the same team for just the third time in history, the first since the 1969 Astros. Sanchez, who led the AL with a 2.57 ERA, will get the start for the Tigers in Game 1 against the Red Sox. Often overlooked because of his high-profile teammates, Sanchez was one of the best pitchers in either league over the second half of the season, going 7-2 with a 2.20 ERA after the All-Star break. Sanchez, though, was rocked by the As in the ALDS to the tune of six runs -- earned -- in 4 1/3 innings. "Its a big day for me, especially because Im going to start the series again," Sanchez said. "This team, a pretty good team. But I think every day is different. I need to keep working. I need to be focused tomorrow." Detroit left-hander Phil Coke has been added to the roster for the ALCS after missing the division series with elbow problems. Coke gives the Tigers another option out of the bullpen, although he struggled this year, going 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA. Right-hander Luke Putkonen was left off the ALCS roster to make room for Coke. Right-hander Bruce Rondon, who also missed the division series against Oakland with elbow trouble, is still out. Boston and Detroit have been playing one another since 1901, but amazingly this is the first postseason matchup between the charter AL clubs. The Tigers were 4-3 against the Red Sox in 2013, winning three of four at Comerica Park in June and dropping two of three at Fenway in September. In fact, the last time they met Boston smacked eight home runs and won, 20-4. Michael Stone Jersey . Having won the first leg 1-0 in Barcelona, Madrid entered the match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium already in control and quickly sealed its place in the semifinals when Jese Rodriguez scored in the seventh minute. Gary Roberts Jersey . The Toronto Maple Leafs were holding a news conference, so they got curious. It didnt take long for them to find out via social media that coach Randy Carlyle was coming back — with a two-year extension — and assistants Greg Cronin, Scott Gordon and Dave Farrish were being let go. http://www.officialflamesfanstore.com/au...lames-jersey/.Y. -- The "for sale" sign is up at the Buffalo Bills with the hiring of financial and legal advisers who may begin talking with prospective buyers within the next month. Matthew Tkachuk Jersey . - The Clippers have signed guard Dahntay Jones to a second 10-day contract. Alan Quine Jersey . The Hockey Canada Foundation is donating $50,000, with Hockey Quebec contributing $15,000. Hockey Canada also announced it will hold a skills camp for all levels of minor hockey in Lac-Mégantic during the 2013-14 season. Representatives from Hockey Canada, the Hockey Canada Foundation and Hockey Quebec were on hand Tuesday night at a meeting of the AHM de Lac-Mégantic to make the announcement and presentation.Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was sidelined again Thursday night because of lingering knee soreness. Anthony did not dress for New Yorks game against the Chicago Bulls, while forward Amare Stoudemire was in uniform. Knicks coach Derek Fisher said earlier Thursday that Anthony was dealing with soreness in his knee left over from Tuesdays game against Dallas. He said Stoudemire was going to have the night off to rest because the team has back-to-back afternoon games scheduled this weekend at home against Phoenix and on the road against Toronto.dddddddddddd. Anthony had played three consecutive games since sitting out last Wednesday against San Antonio because of the knee injury thats bothered him all season. Some days are better than others, he said after Thursdays shootaround. Anthony is averaging 23.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in 24 games this season. cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '