Detroit Tigers (54-48) at Boston Red Sox (51-51)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Fenway Park
SB Nation Blog: Over the Monster
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Max Scherzer (10-5, 4.49 ERA) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (8-3, 4.93 ERA)
Buchholz has been lights out in his last two starts, allowing one run apiece to the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. In fact, he's been largely untouchable for the past couple months... though he spent a month on the disabled list in that time. Since June 1st, Buchholz has a 2.45 ERA in 7 starts with 40 strikeouts and 11 walks in 51 1/3 innings. This is nothing new for Buchholz, who tends to get stronger as the season progresses.
Scherzer continued what has been a fantastic July with another strong start his last time out. After beating the Indians on Wednesday, he is now 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA this month. It's a bit worrisome that he has walked four batters in each of his last two starts, but the results still speak for themselves. This is a very promising trend for Scherzer, whose first four starts of July 2010 are eerily similar to his four July starts so far this season. If he can even come close to the numbers that he had in the second half two years ago, look out.
Since we last met...
The Red Sox have gotten healthier. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford both returned from injuries after the All-Star Break, and David Ortiz is set to come off the DL on Wednesday. Cody Ross and Dustin Pedroia were also banged up when the Tigers visited Fenway in late May. So why are they still in last place? Their pitching hasn't been great, allowing over 5 runs per game in the month of July, but their schedule hasn't been kind to them either. All of their July opponents, save for the Seattle Mariners on the 1st of the month, have ended their respective series with Boston over .500.
You may remember the first time that Scherzer and Buchholz faced off this season, but not because of their pitching acumen. Alex Avila (mercifully) ended the 13 inning affair with a walk-off home run that still stands as arguably the most exciting play of the Tigers' season. I don't think it's a stretch to predict that today's game will provide fewer fireworks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see another shootout either. Both Scherzer and Buchholz have been pitching well lately, so this game may come down to manufacturing a run or two late in the game.
The Tigers continue to pillage the Red Sox' bullpen with a late-inning comeback.
Pedroia: Red Sox aren't playing the game right - The Boston Globe, Peter Abraham
"Dustin Pedroia is no longer frustrated with the play of the Red Sox. He's angry."
An Adrian Gonzalez Resurgence? - Over the Monster
Gonzalez was hitting .369/.376/.560 in July prior to last night's game against the Yankees. Insert grumble about him getting hot at the wrong time here.
Crawford’s schedule requires managing - The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo
We'll see if Crawford gets a day off during this series. Currently, Crawford is only supposed to be playing four games in a row, but Bobby Valentine hasn't been following that schedule too closely so far.
Dear Ben ... - Boston Dirt Dogs
Meanwhile, the Boston media was in dire straits over the weekend.