Red Sox At Tigers: Justin Verlander Dominant As Sox Can't Close Out Sweep

The Red Sox will head to Detroit to face the Tigers in a four-game series featuring a rematch of Justin Verlander and Josh Beckett's battle of the aces. Read more at Over The Monster and Bless You Boys.

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Red Sox 0, Tigers 3: Red Sox Can't Touch Justin Verlander, Have Winning Streak Snapped At Five

The Red Sox split their double-header with Detroit, falling 3-0 to the Tigers in the second contest.

While billed as a battle of the aces—a rematch, in fact, of their contest earlier in the month—only one of Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander was really on Sunday, and that was Justin Verlander. Beckett put the Sox in a hole early, allowing two runs on a walk and three straight one-out hits in the first.

Somehow, though, despite having little control over any of his pitches for the rest of the game, Beckett would escape further harm. He would allow five walks, see his pitch count get quite high, and find himself in danger often enough. But at the end of six, there he was, with two earned runs.

Against most other pitchers, that would have been plenty good enough. But against Justin Verlander, it wasn’t even close. Facing none of the problems Beckett had, Verlander just didn’t let people reach base, inducing weak out after weak out. Only some tenacious at bats by the Red Sox kept him from collecting a complete game shutout, as they forced him from the game with two outs in the eighth.

Unlike the day game, however, the Tigers bullpen proved up to the task this time. With two men on base (one of the few times the Red Sox actually threatened all game), Joaquin Benoit came in after having already pitched in inning in the first game and got Dustin Pedroia to fly out to end the inning. Up next was Jose Valverde, making his second appearance of the day as well, and up against the middle of the order, no less.

Somehow, though, Valverde did a 180-degree turn from his last outing, getting two quick outs on Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis before getting some modicum of revenge on David Ortiz for his homer earlier in the game, ending the Red Sox’ hopes of a sweep once and for all.


Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: Boston Wins Fifth Straight On David Ortiz' Clutch Homer

The Red Sox won their fifth straight game and clinched the series win against Detroit Sunday, downing the Tigers 4-3.

While the second half of the day's double header will feature a battle of the aces between Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander, the first half featured a pitching matchup that seemed entirely lopsided. Clay Buchholz entered the game on riding a five-game hot streak that had seen him allow six runs in 33 innings in May, dropping his ERA by two whole points. Andrew Oliver, the Tigers' starter, was making the first start of his season after a dismal MLB debut in 2010.

And, for at least the first five innings, the game went largely according to script. The Red Sox put three men on base and scored in the first, then found homers from Mike Cameron and Dustin Pedroia in the second and third innings. Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, faced just one man over the minimum and seemed ready to cruise through the game. Even entering the sixth, a solo shot from Andy Dirks was the only blemish against him.

Unfortunately for the Sox, Buchholz went off script in the sixth inning. While the solo shot allowed to Brennan Boesch wasn't enough to take away his win, the hard-hit double past a diving Drew Sutton combined with a two-out line drive off the bat off Jhonny Peralta was. Buchholz finally picked got Don Kelly to fly out to end both the inning and his night as he returned to the dugout, flinging his glove violently against the wall.

With a second game just hours away, the Red Sox had to conserve their bullpen as best as possible, and so they went  looking for two innings from Matt Albers. While Sox fans might still remember his allowing five earned runs against the Cubs all too well, Albers earned some amount of redemption by holding the tie until the ninth, retiring the heart of the Detroit order with surprising ease.

The Red Sox entered the top of the ninth facing the unfortunate reality of having the bottom two men in their order up to start the inning--a worse situation than usual with the lineup having been cobbled together to face a lefty. So it was that Terry Francona turned to the bench against Jose Valverde. First up was J.D. Drew, who worked a decent plate appearance but had his bat break on what seemed like a strong swing, resulting in a relatively lazy fly ball out. 

Up next was David Ortiz, who entered the game with a perfect career line off of Valverde: 1-for-1 with a home run. Seemingly cognizant of this, Valverde worked around Ortiz for the first six pitches of the at bat, but with the count finally running full, he decided to challenge the slugger. Big mistake. With the pitch in his wheelhouse, Ortiz swung hard, and sent the ball just over the top of the wall in right to give the Sox the 4-3 lead. With Jonathan Papelbon looking entirely dominant in the ninth, the Sox returned to the locker room to prepare for the second game of the double-header with a five-game winning streak at their backs.


Red Sox Vs. Tigers: Saturday's Game Postponed, Moved To Sunday

The third game of a four-game weekend set between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers on Saturday night at Comerica Park has been postponed due to rain.

Saturday night's game underwent an hour and 25 minute rain delay after it started raining just after the scheduled start time, and it never let up.

As a result, Boston and Detroit will now play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, with the first game beginning at 1:05 p.m EDT and the second game taking place on Sunday night at 7:05 p.m.

For more Boston Red Sox coverage, visit out Red Sox blog, Over the Monster.


Red Sox 6, Tigers 3: Boston Rides Another Big Inning To Fourth Straight Win

The Boston Red Sox cruised to their fourth straight victory Friday utilizing another big early inning to down the Detroit Tigers 6-3.

While this game did not feature the same consistent scoring attack of their last two, it certainly started off similarly enough. After putting up a seven-run first inning on Wednesday and a five-run second, the Sox waited until the third to do the majority of their damage Thursday.

Trailing 2-1 after Wakefield allowed a pair of ground ball singles in the first and a very loud solo shot to Jhonny Peralta in the second, Jacoby Ellsbury immediately erased the Red Sox’ deficit, getting ahead of Detroit starter Rick Porcello 3-1 and pulling the ensuing fastball into the stands in right for his sixth home run of the season.

It would take Porcello three more batters and another two runs to get his first out of the inning, with Dustin Pedroia walking, Adrian Gonzalez singling, and Kevin Youkilis doubling deep to right to bring them both in before David Ortiz hit a lazy fly ball to Austin Jackson.

If that was supposed to be Porcello getting his second wind, however, it didn’t last long. Carl Crawford worked an eight-pitch at bat against him, ending with an inside fastball which Crawford put an Ortiz-like swing on to clear out for his third home run in five games. When all was said-and-done in the third, Porcello had 75 pitches on his arm and was done for the night. That’s three straight starters the Sox have chased before the fourth inning.

If there was a saving grace for Detroit in this game, it was Charlie Furbush saving the pen with a shutdown five-inning effort in relief of Porcello. As tends to be the case against rookie lefties, the Sox had serious trouble seeing Furbush, leading to just four baserunners.

The good news was that they didn’t need the help. After his early troubles, Tim Wakefield found his knuckleball again, and started mowing down opposing batters. While the Tigers would threaten a few more times thanks to a number of leadoff baserunners, Wakefield shut them down each time, finishing the seventh without allowing another run. Daniel Bard finished the seventh with just six pitvhes, and while Jonathan Papelbon did run into some trouble in a non-save ninth, a couple of strikeouts and an impressive grab on a sinking liner from Carl Crawford closed out the game before things got too hairy.


Red Sox Vs. Tigers Lineups: Josh Reddick Continues To Fill In For J.D. Drew

The Red Sox have been without their full lineup for the last couple of days, but it hasn't stopped them from putting up fourteen runs in each of their last two games. While the group that manager Terry Francona will send out Friday still isn't entirely complete with J.D. Drew still resting his hamstring, it's the closest the team has been since May 23. 

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B

5. David Ortiz, DH

6. Carl Crawford, LF

7. Jed Lowrie, SS

8. Josh Reddick, RF

9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

--Tim Wakefield, SP

After a second straight 4-hit game, Carl Crawford will continue to bat sixth. If he can keep up a reasonable pace, it's hard to see anything dislodging him from that spot.

The Tigers will be relying on a rather different lineup than the one which was shut down by Alfredo Aceves on Thursday.

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Ramon Santiago, 2B

3. Ryan Raburn, LF

4. Miguel Cabera, DH

5. Victor Martinez, 1B

6. Jhonny Peralta, SS

7. Alex Avila, C

8. Casper Wells, RF

9. Brandon Inge, 3B

--Rick Porcello, SP


Red Sox 14, Tigers 1: Red Sox Offense Keeps Rolling Against Tigers, Crawford Collects Four Hits In Win

The Red Sox put on an offensive show against Max Scherzer and the Tigers, scoring fourteen runs for the second straight game to down Detroit 14-1 in a game cut an inning short by rain.

It took Boston a few more outs to effectively put the game away Thursday than it did against the Indians, but once again the Sox took a large early lead and did not let go.

Max Scherzer took the mound for the Tigers beginning the day with a 2.98 ERA. After a leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Scherzer seemed to settle down, escapign the first inning unharmed. Then the wheels fell off. A reasonably lucky hit from David Ortiz started a string of four hits off the Tigers' starter that gave the Sox a 2-0 lead.

It may have seemed as though Scherzer was gaining traction after he struck out Jason Varitek, but any notions of improvement were dispelled when Jacoby Ellsbury turned on a 2-2 pitch and sent it into the stands in right field to give the Sox their third, fourth, and fifth runs of the game.

While the Red Sox wouldn't score seven runs in the inning like they did against Cleveland, they may as well have. After allowing a single and a walk to start off the inning, Scherzer found himself chased from the game after Carl Crawford tripled before an out was recorded in the third. Crawford would finish with four hits in five at bats, including two triples. 

Meanwhile, Alfredo Aceves was once again carrying more than his fair share of the load on the mound, allowing a lone run in six innings of work. While he once again showed a tendency to lose control for short periods of time, he also brought strikeouts to the table this time around, gathering six of them along the way. 

Adam Wilk would stabilize things for the Tigers until the eighth, with the Sox scoring only two more runs, but that final half inning proved exceptionally difficult for Detroit. The Red Sox once again unloaded for five runs in an inning, sending nine men to the plate to match their total against Cleveland with 14 runs. With the tarp being rolled out on the field before the bottom of the frame could start, the game ended as another big win for a Sox team on a roll.


Red Sox At Tigers: Headed To Detroit, Boston Aims For Six Straight Series Wins

The Red Sox are gunning for their sixth straight series win as they head into Detroit Thursday to face a Tigers team they swept a two-game set from only a week ago.

While the losses to Boston started the Tigers on something of a slump--they would drop two games to the Pirates, scoring a total of three runs to extend their losing streak to four--they've turned things around in the last few days. And for that, the Red Sox are grateful, since two of their wins came against the Tampa Bay Rays, against whom they put together games of seven and six runs. 

Can the Red Sox keep rolling even with the back end of the rotation due up? Or will the Tigers repay them for the defeats they suffered in Fenway?

Boston Red Sox (27-22) vs. Detroit Tigers (25-23)

Thursday, May 26, 1:05 p.m.
Alfredo Aceves (1-0, 2.42 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (6-1, 2.98 ERA)

Alfredo Aceves was a bit wild in his first start of the year against the Cubs, but settled down well enough to pitch five innings of one-run ball--a feat the Red Sox would be more than happy to receive against the Tigers. The Cubs didn't have anyone quite like Miguel Cabrera, though, so it will be interesting to see how he handles himself against the league's elite.

Max Scherzer continues to come into his own as one of the rising young stars of the league. While no team can come to the plate truly confident against a starter who's had the number of dominant outings he's had, the Sox do have something to feel good about: Scherzer has massive splits so far this year, allowing lefties to hit .279/.357/.484 off of him. If he's having trouble pitching inside to a lineup with seven of them, including two of the best in Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, he could have some trouble.

Friday, May 27, 7:05 p.m.
Tim Wakefield (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (4-2, 3.08)

The knuckleball was dancing when Tim Wakefield took the mound Sunday against the Cubs, leading to tons of weak contact and just the one run in 6.2 innings of work. Of course, it didn't hurt that the National League Cubs had little experience against Wakefield and his most unique of pitches. But even with the Tigers' greater familiarity, it'll really come down to whether or not Wakefield is on or not, and that's anyone's guess.

The last time Rick Porcello faced the Red Sox, things got a bit heated. While Porcello's star seemed to be falling a bit as he struggled through 2010, he seems to have turned things around in May, winning all three of his games so far this month, allowing just three earned runs in 20 innings pitched. In many ways, however, he's actually slowed down this month, striking out only seven batters in those outings while walking six, surviving on fly balls. Given that he also has pronounced splits to this point, it will be interesting to see if he can continue to escape harm pitching like that against the Red Sox

Saturday, May 28, 7:10 p.m.
Clay Buchholz (4-3, 3.30 ERA) vs. Andrew Oliver (0-0, N/A)

While Clay Buchholz' last outing was perhaps less dominant than some of his others this month have been, it did nothing to dissuade Sox fans from the idea that the Clay Buchholz who pitched so well last year was back. While the strikeouts have been big for Buchholz of late, perhaps the most encouraging fact is that he's kept the ball down in the zone and induced ground ball after ground ball of late. He'll need to keep the strikeouts up, but ground outs are what will keep him consistent.

As a fresh-from-the-minors southpaw (at least for 2011), the only part of Oliver's game that doesn't scream Red Sox killer is that he's got some velocity to work with. Typically, that's not a good thing for opposing batters. So far, though, Oliver has had very limited success in the Major Leagues. Whether being a year older and a year wiser will help him find the zone more often remains to be seen.

Sunday, May 29, 1:05 p.m.
Josh Beckett vs. Justin Verlander

The last time these two faced off back on May 19, it was the Red Sox who walked away with a slim 4-3 win. To say Josh Beckett won the pitchers' duel is a bit questionable, though. Beckett went six innings, allowing only one run while striking out three and walking two compared to Justin Verlander's eight innings of three-run ball. But aside from the two mistake pitches that cost him some loud bombs, Verlander gave the Red Sox fits, striking out nine batters along the way.

While Verlander had some serious trouble against the Rays last time out, it's never a good idea to expect to hit him. On the other hand, it's hard to take anyone over Beckett at the moment. Either way, this should be a good way to finish off the series, hopefully with a win.

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