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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, May 30th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Tigers (23-26) at Boston Red Sox (25-24), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Drew Smyly (2-1, 3.14) Boston - Jon Lester (3-4, 4.72)

(Sports Network) - Jon Lester's 2012 season got off to a good start with an outing versus the Tigers in early April, but the Red Sox hurler hit a low point in his recent outing.

Lester will try to recover tonight for Boston and earn his first victory over Detroit in the third contest of a four-game series at Fenway Park.

The left-handed Lester, who has won at least 15 games in each of his previous four seasons, began his campaign with a solid outing in Detroit on April 5, hurling seven innings of one-run ball while getting a no-decision in Boston's 3-2 loss. That left him winless in four career meetings with the Tigers, going 0-2 with a 4.62 earned run average.

That was also one of four outings this year in which Lester has allowed one run or less, but he matched a season high when he was tagged for seven runs over four frames of a loss to the Rays on Friday. All seven runs crossed the plate on home runs, with Lester giving up three on the day. That included a grand slam to Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce in the third frame.

"It wasn't good," Lester said on Boston's official website. "I didn't locate. I felt like I had to throw a ball in a keyhole. It was one of those nights. When I was missing, I was missing. When I was on the plate, I was in the middle. I didn't make an adjustment. They did a good job of working counts, getting into hitters' counts and making me pay for my mistakes."

The 28-year-old fell to 3-4 with a 4.72 ERA in 10 starts this season and 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in four at home.

Tigers rookie Drew Smyly also got his season off on a good note, but has struggled as of late. Still, he can win a second straight start and third decision of his brief career this evening.

Smyly pitched to a 1.59 ERA over his first six starts -- the first of his career -- but that produced only a 1-0 record. He is 1-1 in his last three trips to the hill, but has pitched to a 6.75 ERA in that span.

The 22-year-old southpaw is coming off a win over the Twins, one in which he was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and two walks in five innings on Friday. He needed 48 pitches to get through the first two frames of a 10-6 victory.

Smyly, who has never faced Boston, is 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA in nine starts this year and 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five on the road.

The Red Sox will look to get to Smyly tonight and stay above .500, a mark they passed for the first time this season with last night's 6-3 victory that pushed their record to 25-24. That's the latest they have needed to get above .500 for the first time in a season since August of 1996.

David Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, while Daniel Nava added a three-run double off Detroit ace Justin Verlander. Boston won its second straight and seventh in its past 10 games.

The Red Sox were able to pick up the win despite missing second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who had an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a slight tear in the adductor muscle of his right thumb. The injury first occurred while hitting three weeks ago and was aggravated during Monday's opener.

Pedroia and the team will wait until Wednesday to determine if a trip to the 15-day disabled list is needed.

"I'm optimistic," Pedroia said. "We're still talking about it. Hopefully the swelling and stuff goes down and I won't miss that much time."

Boston also saw catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia exit Tuesday's game in the sixth due to an unspecified illness.

Verlander had a rare off night, touched for five runs and 10 hits over six innings with seven strikeouts.

"I can't say I pitched bad but it was a battle because of the way that they were putting together at-bats against me," said Verlander. "There were a lot of guys on (base) and a lot of high-intensity pitches."

Prince Fielder homered among his two hits and knocked in two runs for the Tigers, who came into the series having swept Minnesota in three games but fell to 3-5 on a 10-game road trip.

The Tigers also saw their losing streak in Boston reach six games in a row. Detroit has lost 13 of its past 16 games at Fenway Park overall.

05/30 10:49:16 ET