The Boston Red Sox (44-30) get their first taste of the reigning American League champions in a four-game series at the Detroit Tigers (39-31) this weekend. Boston comes in having won three of its last five, including taking two-of-three from division rival Tampa Bay. The Sox and Tigers split 10 games last season.
Tonight, John Lackey gets the start for the Red Sox. He is 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA in his last six starts, and is 4-5 with a 3.08 ERA for the season. He went seven strong innings against the Orioles this past Saturday, giving up two runs, both in the first inning, and settling down to blank the Os over the final six innings in a 5-4 victory.
Here is the Sox lineup at Comerica Park (first pitch – 7:08 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Lavarnway, C
8. Middlebooks, 3B
9. Iglesias, SS
Rookie Jose Alvarez makes just his second career start tonight. In his Major League Debut, Alvarez struck out seven, walked one and allowed one run on three hits in six innings against the Indians. He held Cleveland hitless into the fifth inning and earned his first career win.
Getting on base
Detroit and Boston rank first and second, respectively, in MLB in team on-base percentage. The Tigers sport a .348 OBP with the Red Sox close behind at .343. The two teams are also leading their respective divisions and could very well see each other in the postseason.
The Sox just got done facing one of the AL’s best hitters in Chris Davis of the Orioles. Now, Sox pitchers will get their shot at the defending AL batting champ and Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. The slugger leads the AL in batting average (.361) and the Major Leagues in RBI (71) and OBP (.452). Boston’s pitching staff will have to figure out how to handle Cabrera, Price Fielder and a whole cast of Tigers.
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