Game 140: Tigers at Red Sox - Lester looks to prevent win No. 20 for Scherzer

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Even without Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers showed why they are still considered the team to beat in the American League, shutting out the Boston Red Sox 3-0 in the series opener on Labor Day. Detroit (81-57) now trails Boston (82-57) by a half-game for the best record in the AL with a chance to overtake the top spot tonight.

Jon Lester has pitched like a top-of-the-rotation guy since the All-Star Break. He gets the start tonight for the Sox. Lester has given up seven runs in his last five outings combined and pitched at least six innings in each contest. For the year, he is 12-8 with a 3.99 ERA.

Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 7:10 pm EDT):

1. Victorino, CF
2. Nava, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Carp, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Drew, SS
8. Ross, C
9. Middlebrooks, 3B

Lester, P

Boston will be facing the game’s best pitcher, Max Scherzer. The righty is 19-1 in 27 starts with a 2.90 ERA. Scherzer’s only loss came nine starts ago when he allowed four runs on eight hits against the Rangers. Since then, he has given up 13 runs over eight outings and is 6-0 in that span. His last start, however, was against Oakland and Scherzer allowed five runs on eight hits in just five innings of work.

Ellsbury sits with thumb injury
Boston’s center fielder and leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury is taking the day off to rest an injury to his left thumb. Ellsbury was 0-for-3 Monday with a strikeout. The move is likely precautionary by manager John Farrell to keep his starters as fresh as possible heading toward a playoff run.

No run support for Lackey
John Lackey has been unlucky, despite being one of the best pitchers in the Sox rotation. He has a 3.22 ERA this year, but has an 8-12 record. The biggest reason is the lack of run support for Lackey, who has received 3.3 runs per start this year. ESPN showed a graphic of his stats versus Scherzer’s, who gets 6 runs per start. The graphic noted that Lackey would be 15-4 if he and Scherzer traded spots, whereas Scherzer would be 11-10 with the Red Sox. Many people think Lackey should be the first pitcher in the rotation come postseason time, but reservations are out there as to whether or not the Red Sox would actually win the game, despite his bulldog mentality.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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