DETROIT -

The Boston Red Sox are trying to forget last season. The Detroit Tigers are trying to build on it.

In perhaps the most anticipated matchup of baseball's first big day of games, Detroit will send Justin Verlander to the mound when it hosts Boston at Comerica Park on Thursday. The Tigers won the AL Central last year and added slugger Prince Fielder in the offseason. The Red Sox missed the playoffs in 2011 because of a late collapse. This will be their first game under new manager Bobby Valentine.

The Red Sox will go with left-hander Jon Lester on the mound. Boston is hoping for a bounce-back year from outfielder Carl Crawford, who hit a career-low .255 last season.