Two games into the series and the potential playoff preview between the top two hitting teams in the major leagues is all about pitching.
Each club looks to break out offensively when the Boston Red Sox host the Detroit Tigers in the rubber match of their three-game set on Wednesday. Detroit leads the majors in scoring but totaled four runs in the first two games of the series, including Tuesday's 2-1 loss.
Boston is second in scoring, three runs behind the Tigers after Jon Lester outdueled Max Scherzer. Miguel Cabrera returned to Detroit’s lineup on Tuesday after a three-game absence due to an abdominal injury but went 0-for-4 with a strikeout as the team’s lead over the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central slipped to 7 1/2 games.
The Red Sox have not dropped a series since Aug. 16-18 against the Yankees and have captured eight of their last 10 while opening up a sizeable lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN (Detroit), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Detroit RH Rick Porcello (11-7, 4.44 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Ryan Dempster (7-9, 4.75)
Porcello is coming off his second straight win as he held Cleveland to two runs over 5 2/3 innings last week. The 24-year-old’s success can be attributed to his control - he has issued only 35 walks in 148 total innings. Porcello is just 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA and five walks allowed in four career starts against the Red Sox, though the lone win came at Boston.
Dempster came back from an extended layoff last week and looked sharp against the Chicago White Sox, allowing three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings to snap a four-start winless streak. The veteran could be fighting for a spot in the rotation with All-Star Clay Buchholz close to being activated from the disabled list. Dempster is just 5-7 with a 4.93 ERA in 17 home starts this season.
1. Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury (thumb) and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (back) both sat out Tuesday’s game and are day-to-day.
2. Detroit CF Austin Jackson is aiming for a fourth consecutive multi-hit game.
3. Boston RHP Koji Uehara has not allowed a run in 22 consecutive appearances or a hit in six straight.