I joked about saying this last night, so jeer me if you must, but could that walk-off win have given the Tigers a much-needed kick in the pants? Or was it just a speed bump against the semi-truck that might be the Boston Red Sox? Regardless of what happens tonight, I won't mind seeing Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell leave town after what they've done to Detroit pitching in this series. (Yes, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez have been good, too, but didn't you kind of expect that?)
Josh Beckett was knocked around in his last start by those pesky Tampa Bay Rays, but the four runs he allowed were easily surpassed by the 12 his lineup scored for him. (Funny how that works, eh?) Beckett hasn't been lights-out, however, giving up three runs or more in four of his five starts this season. In his only start against the Tigers, back in 2006 at Fenway, Beckett gave up five runs and six walks in six innings.
Depending on who you consult, an injury might be the reason Justin Verlander has struggled in his seven starts this season. He hasn't been very good, allowing four runs or more in six of those seven appearances, but Verlander has also been victimized by the fourth-worst run support among AL starting pitchers. In one start vs. the Red Sox last year, Verlander gave up only two runs in 7 2/3 innings in Boston.
Both team's left fielders are getting the night off, with Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield each sitting out. Jacoby Ellsbury will fill in for Ramirez, while Matt Joyce starts in left for the Tigers, along with Marcus Thames batting at designated hitter. Edgar Renteria will get a rest, as well, with Ramon Santiago filling in at shortstop.
Over the Monster has your SB Nation opposing view for tonight's series finale.