The Boston Red Sox (27-33) continue their series against the Detroit Tigers (32-25) tonight. Detroit won the first game of the series by teaching Rubby De La Rosa that pitching in the big leagues won't be so easy when you're facing a quality lineup. The hard throwing young pitcher left too many pitches up in the zone and the Tigers hitters made him pay. Back-to-back home runs from Ian Kinsler and Tori Hunter in the 5th inning spoiled his night and helped the Tigers pull away.
If Boston is going to put an end to their 4-game skid, they'll have to do it by winning a battle of aces.
- Jon Lester (6-6, 3.15 ERA) will try to be the stopper that turns things around for the Sox. He's coming off a gem where he picked up the win by blanking the Tampa Bay Rays for 7 innings. If he can strike out at least 6 batters tonight then he'll reclaim the major league lead in that category.
- Boston's offense has fallen to 21st in the majors. Only three AL teams have scored less runs than the Red Sox – Houston, Kansas City and Tampa Bay. The biggest issue for this offense has been their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Boston is hitting only .239 in those situations (.250 is league average in the AL).
- Need another example of how limited the Red Sox offense is these days? Grady Sizemore is batting .223 with 2 HRs this season and is batting 5th tonight. Looking down the rest of the order, there really aren't any other options that stick out as someone that deserves to hit ahead of him. Good thing Mike Napoli is on his way back soon.
- The MLB Draft continues into it's third day on Saturday. The Red Sox turned some heads by selecting Karsten Whitson in the 11th round. He was drafted with the 9th overall pick in 2010 by the San Diego Padres, but turned down a $2.1 million signing bonus to go to college instead. Looks like that didn't work out so well for him. An injury last year was followed by a down season that crushed his draft stock. If he can reclaim his form that made him look like a future ace a few years ago, he could be an absolute steal at this point in the draft.
- Max Scherzer (6-2, 3.20 ERA) will be on the mound for the Tigers. Detroit's ace has been struggling lately, giving up 16 earned runs over his last 3 starts (19.2 innings). His last win came back on May 16th in Boston when he out-dueled Lester in a 1-0 victory.
- Miguel Cabrera is coming off back-to-back MVP seasons where he put up eye-popping video game numbers. He's off to another great start this season – just not as great as previous years. Cabrera is hitting .314/.365/.545 with 11 HRs and 50 RBIs. Those are still All-Star numbers for sure, but they aren't the MVP numbers we had gotten used to the past couple years. Without those superhuman numbers carrying the team's offense, the Tigers have dropped to 14th in the majors in runs scored, after finishing 2nd last year.