American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 7th (All times Eastern)
Boston Red Sox (0-1) at Detroit Tigers (1-0), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Josh Beckett (0-0, 0.00) Detroit - Doug Fister (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers try to make it two straight wins to start the season this afternoon when they continue a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park.
The Tigers won in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, as they watched Jose Valverde spoil Justin Verlander's masterpiece, but then sent their fans home happy when Austin Jackson's game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted them to a 3-2 win.
"It felt good to get back out there and we accomplished the goal today, to get a win," Jackson said.
Verlander, the league's reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner, picked up right where he left off last season and allowed just two hits and fanned seven in eight scoreless innings. However, he was denied the win, as Valverde (1-0), who went a perfect 49-for-49 save opportunities a year ago, blew his first chance of 2012, surrendering two runs in the ninth to let Boston even the game.
Red Sox starter Jon Lester went toe-to-toe with Verlander and tossed seven innings of one-run ball. Mark Melancon (0-1), though, was charged with the loss after putting the winning run on base in the ninth.
"Verlander threw great, Lester threw outstanding. They got a couple runs when they needed. We left a couple guys on," Boston left fielder Cody Ross said.
The Red Sox could have some trouble scoring runs today as well against righty Doug Fister, who was terrific this spring, pitching to a 1.86 ERA in 19 1/3 Grapefruit League innings.
Acquired from Seattle in an under-the-radar-move near last year's trade deadline, Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) down the stretch for the Tigers. He closed the year strong, posting a 7-0 mark, while allowing one run or less in his last eight outings.
Fister, who's 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts versus the Red Sox, will be opposed by righty Josh Beckett, who may have something to prove with the way last season ended. Of course the team endured an epic September collapse, but Beckett became the face of the "fried chicken and beer" fiasco that gripped the clubhouse.
On the field Beckett bounced back from an injury-plagued 2010 to win 13 games last season, while pitching to a 2.89 ERA. However, as good as he was through the first five months Beckett was just as awful in four September starts, going just 1-2 and allowing 14 earned runs in 23 innings.
Beckett, whose been bothered this spring by an ailing right thumb, is 2-1 with a total of three earned runs allowed in three career starts at Comerica Park, good for a 1.31 ERA (20 2/3 innings pitched). He's 3-2 lifetime against them with a 2.50 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 39 2/3 career innings.
Boston won five of its six matchups with the Tigers last season.
04/07 10:32:36 ET