Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Fenway Park
SB Nation Blog: Over the Monster
Pitching Matchup: RHP Rick Porcello (7-6, 4.56 ERA) vs. RHP (2-4, 4.50 ERA)
Rick Porcello returns to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs, the beatdown of Kevin Youkilis. Porcello has been pitching well over the past 2 months (7-3, 3.94 ERA in June and July), and even better in the 6 starts previous (2.89) to his last appearance, where one bad inning against the Blue Jays (he allowed 5 R in 6 IP, thanks to a 4 R 4th) handed him the loss.
Aaron Cook is a former All-Star (2008 with the Rockies) who has fallen on hard times (11-22, 5.34 ERA from 2010-12). Cook hasn't won a game in over a month (0-3 with a 4.63 ERA in July) or pitched particularly well at home (1-2 with a 4.71 ERA at Fenway). And I know what you're saying. The Tigers have a knack for making pitchers of Cook's ilk look for Cy Young for an evening.
Tigers lineup: Jackson 8, Berry 7, Cabrera 5, Fielder 3, Boesch 9, Young DH, Avila 2, Peralta 6, Santiago 4.
Your eyes do not deceive you. Brennan Boesch has been moved up to 5th in the batting order, while Delmon Young slides down to 6th. This is the first time this season Young has batted anywhere other than 5th in the lineup in 92 previous starts. We've all been demanding Young move down in the batting order...though I doubt anyone wanted Boesch to be the one moving up.
Outlook: The Jekyll and Hyde Tigers are in Hyde mode (2-6 on what's been a miserable road trip), much in part to the bats going silent once again. With the the Tigers coming up empty at the non-waiver trade deadline, unable to bolster the offense with a right hand bat, it's up to the team as assembled to get out of their offensive funk. Cook is eminently hittable, so now is the time for the top of the Tigers order to take advantage of the short fences at Fenway. As for 5-9 in the lineup, at this point I'm just happy if they don't screw up rallies with double plays.
In case you were wondering, the forecast for Boston calls for only a 20% chance of precipitation. There should be no weather shenanigans tonight.
Prediction: The road trip ends on a positive note. The umps don't end the game with the Tigers having the bases loaded mid-inning, they salvage the final game of the road trip as Porcello pitches well and their plane isn't delayed as the Tigers get the Hell out of Boston and head back to the comfy confines of Comerica Park.