American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, May 28th (All times Eastern)
Detroit Tigers (23-24) at Boston Red Sox (23-24), 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Doug Fister (0-2, 1.84) Boston - Felix Doubront (4-2, 3.96)
(Sports Network) - Neither the Tigers or Red Sox likely thought they would be sitting below .500 near the end of May, but that is where both hopeful clubs find themselves in today's opener of a four-game series at Boston.
Both the Tigers and Red Sox entered the season as predicted contenders in their respective divisions, but that hasn't been the case for either club thanks to identical 23-24 records.
Boston currently sits last in the American League East, 5 1/2 games out of first place and having lost three of five since a 9-2 run.
Detroit, meanwhile, is third in the AL Central and three games off the pace in the standings.
The Tigers do come into this series having completed a three-game sweep of the Twins on Sunday with a 4-3 victory. Miguel Cabrera's late heroics won the game for Detroit as he hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning. Quintin Berry also proved pivotal in the victory, collecting three hits and scoring on Cabrera's decisive home run.
Despite the Tigers pulling things out late, manager Jim Leyland felt afterward that his club had more than enough opportunities to win the game. Detroit left 10 men on base and went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
"We just left too many guys," Leyland said. "Not very good situational hitting."
Still, the Tigers were able to rebound after opening up a 10-game road trip by getting swept in three games by the division-leading Indians.
Detroit goes for a fourth straight victory tonight behind Doug Fister, who seeks his first victory of 2012.
Fister opened his season with an outing versus the Red Sox on April 7, but lasted only 3 2/3 innings due to a rib injury that would sideline him for a month. The right-hander is 0-2 in four starts since his return, only allowing six earned runs. However, the Tigers have backed him with just eight runs in that span.
The 28-year-old did avoid a third straight loss on Wednesday in Cleveland, getting a no-decision in a 4-2 defeat after giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings. That left Fister 0-2 despite a 1.84 earned run average over his five starts.
Unlike the Tigers, the Red Sox were victimized by a late homer in their finale of a three-game series on Sunday against the rival Rays. Adrian Gonzalez had put his club ahead with a three-run homer in the seventh, but Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves suffered his first blown save in 10 chances, allowing a two-run homer to Tampa Bay's Sean Rodriguez in the top of the ninth.
Gonzalez's homer looked like it would stand as the game-winner, but instead Boston failed for the fifth time in as many chances to get above .500 this season.
"It was a changeup down in the zone and I was able to keep my head down and bat on it," said Gonzalez of his homer. "This is frustrating for sure, but there's a lot of ball left to play and things are going to happen."
Boston is expected to get outfielder Ryan Sweeney back this afternoon. He has been on the seven-day disabled list due to a concussion suffered just over a week ago.
Felix Doubront gets the start today for Boston and he had a three-game winning streak halted in his last outing on Tuesday.
In Baltimore, the 24-year-old left-hander gave up two runs on four hits and two walks, striking out a career-high nine over six innings but suffering a 4-1 defeat. That dropped Doubront to 4-2 with a 3.96 ERA in nine outings this season.
He will face the Tigers for the first time in his career.
The Tigers opened the season with a three-game sweep at home of the Red Sox, giving them a win in each of the past four encounters following a seven-game slide to Boston. They lost both of their games there last season and have dropped four straight and 11 of their past 14 trips to Fenway Park.
05/28 10:50:49 ET