Lester (6-6, 3.15 ERA) is coming off one of his best starts of the season Sunday, when he held the Rays scoreless on four hits over seven innings. The ace lefty walked just one batter and struck out 12 in a 4-0 Red Sox win. It was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
“You have days where your game plan goes right and the balls that you want them to swing and miss at, they’re doing it,” Lester said after the game. “But to go out there to try and strike guys out, that just gets more pitches and foul balls. And for me, I find myself overdoing things.’
The AL Central-leading Tigers, who have one of the most dangerous lineups in the American League, should certainly make for a difficult road test. But Lester has had little trouble pitching away from Fenway, boasting a 4-2 record with a 3.24 ERA in six road starts this season.
Lester lost his last start to the Tigers on May 16 when he was outdueled by Scherzer in a 1-0 Sox loss. The lefty gave up just one run on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts over five innings, but he failed to get any run support from his offense. Lester is 2-3 with a 4.35 ERA in eight career starts against Detroit.
The going has not been good for the defending AL Cy Young Award winner as of late. In his last three starts, Scherzer (6-2, 3.20 ERA) has a 7.32 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in 19 2/3 innings, and suffered his first loss since April 13 last Sunday. The righty allowed four runs on nine hits and no walks with seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Mariners.
“There is part of the process I’m doing right,” Scherzer said after the game. “When you are not walking guys and you are striking guys out, it’s a good thing. You wear this one on the chin and keep going.’
Saturday will be Scherzer’s first start at Comerica Park since May 10. He has five quality starts in as many outings at home this season.
Scherzer is 3-4 with a 6.14 ERA in nine career starts against the Red Sox, but he had one of his best outings of the season in Boston May 16. He pitched six shutout innings and surrendered just three hits and four walks to go with seven strikeouts. He hasn’t won a game since.
Red Sox vs. Scherzer (RHP)
A.J. Pierzynski (34 plate appearances): .333 AVG/.324 OBP/.515 SLG, 1 HR, 1 triple, 1 double, 7 RBIs, 4 strikeouts
David Ortiz (21): .471/.571/1.059, 3 HR, 1 double, 6 RBIs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (20): .211/.250/.526, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Grady Sizemore (13): .091/.231/.091, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Daniel Nava (10): .111/.200/.111, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Stephen Drew (9): .125/.222/.250, 1 double, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
David Ross (7): .333/.429/.500, 1 double, 2 strikeouts
Jonny Gomes (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts is hitless with a strikeout in his two career plate appearances.
Jackie Bradley is hitless with a strikeout in his two career plate appearances.
Tigers vs. Lester (LHP)
Rajai Davis (43 plate appearances): .289 AVG/.372 OBP/.526 SLG, 1 HR, 2 triples, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Ian Kinsler (32): .241/.313/.448, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Miguel Cabrera (27): .476/.593/.714, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts
Torii Hunter (25): .520/.520/.640, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts
Victor Martinez (18): .438/.500/.813, 1 HR, 1 triple, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Austin Jackson (17): .267/.353/.333, 1 double, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Alex Avila (8): .375/.375/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts
Nick Castellanos is hitless in two career plate appearances.
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