American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 8th (All times Eastern)
Boston Red Sox (0-2) at Detroit Tigers (2-0), 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Clay Buchholz (0-0, 0.00) Detroit - Max Scherzer (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Clay Buchholz tries to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2011 when the Boston Red Sox close out a season-opening three game set against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Back problems limited Buchholz to just 14 starts last season, as he ended the campaign just 6-3 with a 3.48 earned run average. He had been a 17-game winner the previous season to go along with a 2.33 ERA.
"It's more of a relaxed state of mind knowing that everything's fine and not having to worry about anything other than going out there and executing pitches and trying to help put this team in a position to win," Buchholz said.
The road has been kind to the 26-year-old righty, as he is 19-7 away from home since the start of the 2009 season. However, in three starts at Comerica he is just 1-0 with a 4.96 ERA.
Detroit, meanwhile, will pin its hopes today on right-hander Max Scherzer, who won his first six decisions last season and had 10 wins by the All-Star break. Scherzer, though, was just 5-5 after the break, despite his ERA dropping nearly a half run.
"The wins and losses, that's great for the team, and that's what I'm pitching here for, but I'm looking at what gives us the best chance to win on a consistent basis," Scherzer said. "There were things I was doing well and things I wasn't doing well at the beginning of last year. I'm hoping that I'm in a better spot this year than I was last year."
Scherzer has been awful in three starts against the Red Sox, going 0-2, while allowing 14 earned runs in just 13 1/3 frames.
On Saturday, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder exemplified why they may be the most fearsome power tandem in baseball, as they smacked two home runs apiece and combined for five RBI in Detroit's 10-0 rout.
Alex Avila supplied the fifth homer with a two-run shot for the Tigers, who are off to their best start since winning the first five games in 2006.
"We really didn't do a whole lot the first game offensively in the first game against them," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Today we did what we do pretty good, hit the ball in the gaps and we hit the ball out of the ballpark."
Doug Fister, who was acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline last season, tossed 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball before exiting with a left costochondral strain. Fister was later placed on the disabled list.
Duane Below (1-0) came on to replace him on the mound and gave up just one hit in 2 1/3 innings of work.
Josh Beckett (0-1) allowed seven runs on seven hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings for Boston.
"You can't miss down the middle of the plate to these guys," Beckett said. "It's a good team, good lineup, you can't throw balls down the middle of the plate to most big league hitters, but especially these guys."
Another loss Sunday would give Boston its first consecutive 0-3 starts since doing so in three straight years from 1931-33, the final seasons of 15 consecutive losing campaigns for the club. The Red Sox, of course, opened last year by losing their first six games of the year.
Boston won five of its six matchups with the Tigers last season.
04/08 10:26:18 ET