Final, Tigers 7-5: The Red Sox made it interesting there at the end, but Torii Hunter ended it on a fantastic diving catch into right-center field. Dustin Pedroia singled to start the inning and finally scored on a two-out Jonny Gomes double.
There’s no way to know what would have happened if Daniel Nava’s catch had been ruled a catch, rather than an error, but that was a game-changing play.
Felix Doubront allowed two earned runs in a shaky start, but he was better than Justin Verlander, who continues to struggle compared to his usual dominant self.
Detroit took three games out of the four-game series. The Red Sox have the Rockies next, followed by a four-game series against the red-hot Blue Jays.
That will do it for the live blog for today. Join us again on Tuesday as Boston starts a short series against Colorado.
End 8th, Tigers 7-4: Needless to say, the Tigers capitalized on the blown call by the umpires. Avisail Garcia got to third after Bryan Holaday reached on a throwing error by Andrew Miller. Then Miller walked Austin Jackson and Alex Wilson came in in relief.
Garcia scored on a sacrifice fly by Torii Hunter and Alex Wilson intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to load the bases.
Craig Breslow came in to relieve Wilson and Prince Fielder singled, scoring Holaday and Jackson. The half inning mercifully came to an end when Victor Martinez grounded into a double play.
Bottom 8th, 4-4: Well the eighth started off with a bang. Avisail Garcia flied out deep to right field, where Daniel Nava caught the ball basket style and dropped it on the transfer to the throw. The second base umpire ruled it an error and Garcia advanced to second base. It sure looked like a catch and drop on the transfer.
John Farrell came out to argue the call and subsequently got ejected.
Mid 8th, 4-4: The Red Sox stranded Jacoby Ellsbury on second base and the score is still knotted up at 4-4.
Ellsbury stole his first base since June 15 after he singled off Drew Smyly. Joaquin Benoit came in to relieve Smyly after Ellsbury got on base.
Ryan Lavarnway lined out to lead off the inning, followed by a Jose Iglesias ground out. Daniel Nava, pinch hitting for Shane Victorino, struck out to end the inning.
End 7th, 4-4: Well, there goes the lead.
Andrew Bailey started off the inning in relief of Junichi Tazawa, but left after just 1/3 of an inning after he gave up singles to Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera.
Andrew Miller came in and immediately loaded the bases after giving up another single to Prince Fielder. Victor Martinez struck out swinging, then Jackson scored when Miller hit Jhonny Peralta with a pitch. Omar Infante grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. The score is now all tied up at 4 going into the top of the eighth.
There was also an odd play when Torii Hunter “lined out” to second. Pedroia dropped the ball, then ran over and tossed the ball to Mike Napoli as Jackson was still standing on first. If Napoli had tagged Jackson, then stepped on first, it would have been a double play. But he tagged the bag, then Jackson, which made Jackson safe.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-3: The Red Sox had a great chance to push through an insurance run in the top of the seventh, but they couldn’t. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz did their jobs by reaching on singles, but Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew all popped out to end the inning.
Drew Smyly now has a 1.77 ERA and 0.99 WHIP on the season as a reliever.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-3: Felix Doubront, too, is done after five innings. He threw 104 pitches, walking four and striking out two. He allowed two earned runs and four hits. It wasn’t the prettiest outing for Doubront, but he got the job done.
Junichi Tazawa relieved Doubront and walked his first batter since May 2. Jhonny Peralta was the only baserunner he allowed in the 6th, though, as he retired Omar Infante on a strike out, Avisail Garcia on a line out and Bryan Holaday on a ground out.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-3: It only took Drew Smyly 10 pitches to get through the top of the sixth. Smyly got Jose Iglesias, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino to ground out. Justin Verlander’s day ended after five innings. He threw 112 pitches, struck out four, walked three and allowed four earned runs.
Victor Marinez made a great, but not so graceful, play at first when he stumbled to grab Ellsbury’s grounder, but flipped it behind him to Smyly for the out.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-3: This is insane. Felix Doubront got Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez to go down 1-2-3 again. Cabrera popped out, Fielder struck out swinging and Martinez grounded out to Jose Iglesias at third.
Iglesias bobbled the ball for a second and delivered a high strike to Mike Napoli at first. Napoli picked it out of the air to retire the side, though.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-3: Apparently all it took for Justin Verlander to find his way was to get some relievers up in the bullpen. Verlander made relatively quick work of the Sox in the top of the fifth.
David Ortiz singled before Mike Napoli lined out and Jonny Gomes flied out. Stephen Drew knocked Ortiz over to second on a single to left center before Verlander got Ryan Lavarnway looking to end the inning.
If you missed it earlier, Dan Petry is in the booth with Don Orsillo. He played briefly with the Red Sox in 1991. He played with some fun names in Boston, including Mo Vaughn, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ellis Burks and Mike Greenwell.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-3: Felix Doubront was playing with fire in the fourth after a 1-2-3 third. Doubront loaded the bases before Torii Hunter popped out to deep right field just in foul territory to end the inning.
The bases were loaded after Omar Infante walked, Avisail Garcia reached on a Stephen Drew error and Austin Jackson walked. Doubront has thrown 85 pitches through four, while Justin Verlander has chucked 94 through four. Doubront has one strikeout and four walks, while Verlander has three Ks and three walks.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-3: Do the Tigers know they’re allowed to cross the foul line to catch pop ups? If not, no one tell them. It seems the corner outfielders give up on the ball very easily if it’s falling into foul ground.
The Red Sox have been piling up runs, but it hasn’t been off towering shots over the fence. In this inning, Ryan Lavarnway scored off a Shane Victorino ground out to short.
Lavarnway walked to start the inning before Jose Iglesias flied out and Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to deep right. Dustin Pedroia lined out to end the inning. This isn’t the game that Justin Verlander is going to regain his dominance.
End 3rd, 3-3: Are innings allowed to be that short? Felix Doubront retired the Tigers 1-2-3 on just eight pitches.
Miguel Cabrera flew out, Prince Fielder grounded out to second and Victor Martinez grounded out to shortstop. If only Doubront could face those three easy batters every inning. Just kidding. No one would want to do that.
Mid 3rd, 3-3: Who does Dustin Pedroia think he is, Jose Iglesias? Pedroia reached base on an infield single, though on the replay it looked like the throw might have beat the runner.
Pedroia moved over to third on a David Ortiz single before scoring when Mike Napoli grounded into a fielder’s choice. Ortiz was out at second — even though he took off on the pitch — but Omar Infante’s throw skied over Victor Martinez’s head and off the dugout fence, preventing Napoli from moving over to second.
Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew struck out to end the top of the third.
Guest color commentator Dan Petry, who pitched most of his career with the Tigers before playing with the Angels, Braves and Red Sox toward the end of his career, talked about some of the Red Sox batters he had to face during his 13-year career. He joked that he helped get NESN’s own Jim Rice into the Hall of Fame and he wasn’t kidding.
Rice hit four home runs against Petry, while putting together a .340/.382/.580/.962 line in 55 plate appearances. Fred Lynn was even better, hitting seven home runs against Petry with a .373/.421/.882/1.303 line. No wonder Petry wanted to play for the Red Sox. He didn’t want to face them anymore. Dwight Evans had a 1.149 OPS against Petry and Carlton Fisk had a .976 OPS.
End 2nd, 3-2: The Tigers are back up. This may just be one of those games.
Felix Doubront almost came out of the inning unscathed, but a passed ball by Ryan Lavarnway scored Bryan Holaday from third.
Omar Infante lead off the inning with a single, but Doubront quickly got two outs on an Avisail Garcia flyout and Infante pickoff. He got back into trouble when Holaday singled and Austin Jackson doubled before the passed ball. Torii Hunter ended the inning with a strikeout.
Mid 2nd, 2-2: That didn’t take long. The Red Sox have tied this game up 2-2.
Ryan Lavarnway drove Mike Napoli in after the first baseman singled to center field and got moved over to second on a Stephen Drew walk. Drew scored on a Jacoby Ellsbury sacrifice fly after the shortstop advanced to third on a Jose Iglesias hit by pitch.
The HBP increased Iglesias’ on-base streak to 26 games. The Red Sox and MLB record is held by Ted Williams, who got on base an insane 84 times in a row in 1949 from July 1 to Sept. 27. Iglesias has quite a while before he can get within reach of Teddy Ballgame’s record.
End 1st, Tigers 2-0: The good news is that Felix Doubront only gave up one hit. The bad news is that the Tigers now lead 2-0 because Doubront walked Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter to start off the inning before Miguel Cabrera hit a ground rule double to dead center.
Doubront got out of the inning by forcing Prince Fielder to ground out to first (scoring Hunter), Victor Martinez to ground out to third and Jhonny Peralta to fly out to center. Doubront was helped out by a sliding backhanded catch by Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning.
So, it’s not quite the start that Doubront was hoping for. He didn’t walk a single batter in his last start against the Rays on Thursday.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia reached base against Justin Verlander for the first time in his career, but that walk was all the offense the Red Sox could muster against the Tigers.
Ellsbury grounded out to the handshake master, Victor Martinez, Shane Victorino flied out to Avisail Garcia in left and David Ortiz struck out swinging.
1:09 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury grounded the first pitch to Victor Martinez at first base. We are underway.
1:07 p.m.: If you’re curious whose voice you’re hearing with Don Orsillo, it’s Dan Petry. He’s been a Tigers color analyst in the past, but he has Red Sox ties as well. He pitched 13 games in relief for Boston in 1991. Petry was an All Star in 1985 with the Tigers. He was a 19-game winner for Detroit in 1983.
Jerry Remy will be back on Tuesday.
12:58 p.m.: You may have noticed a different name on the Red Sox live blog byline for the day. I’ll be straying from my usual football duties to take over the ol’ blog from Ricky Doyle, who I ensure you, will be missed.
The Sox and Tigers are 10 minutes from getting underway. Sox fans will hope Felix Doubront will submit a similar performance to his last start, when he went eight strong. Tigers fans will hope Justin Verlander can find some better luck and stop walking so many batters.
10:49 a.m.: May we interest you in some lineups? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, you never had a choice. Here they are:
Boston Red Sox (44-32)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Jose Iglesias, 3B
Felix Doubront, LHP
Detroit Tigers (41-31)
Austin Jackson, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Omar Infante, 2B
Avisail Garcia, LF
Bryan Holaday, C
Justin Verlander, RHP
As Randy Newman sang in Toy Story, “Straaaaange things are happening.” But this is in reference to the Red Sox lineup, rather than a toy cowboy feeling dejected because an astronaut came around.
Will Middlebrooks is out of the lineup for the third straight day as Jose Iglesias gets the start at third base once again. Iglesias was already hot through April and May, but he’s been even better in June, hitting .441 with a .507 OPS and 1.118 OPS. There’s no point in Middlebrooks sitting on the bench in Boston, so a call down may be in order for the third baseman to turn his season around.
Jonny Gomes is also getting a rare start against a righty. It’s his 11th start of the season against a right-handed pitcher. The Red Sox are electing to go with Gomes over Daniel Nava, who is 1-for-3 with a double against Verlander, or lefty Mike Carp. Gomes is 0-for-6 career against the former MVP and Cy Young winner.
9 a.m. EST: It was a tough night for Boston sports fans on Saturday night, but if anything can lift the spirits of New Englanders, it’s a Red Sox afternoon win.
The pressure will be on Felix Doubront on Sunday afternoon as the Sox take on the Detroit Tigers in the final game of the two teams’ four-game series. Boston will have a chance to split the series as Detroit won Games 1 and 3 on Thursday and Saturday respectively.
On the hill for the Tigers is former Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander. The 30-year-old starter hasn’t been as dominant this season as in years past, but a 3.72 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 92 innings is still good for an 8-5 record. Verlander is striking batters out at the highest rate of his career at 10.4 per nine innings, but he’s also walking more batters than he has since 2008, when he had a league-worst 17 losses.
Verlander’s WHIP is all the way up to 1.348 this season — from 1.057 in 2012 and 0.920 in 2011, his Cy Young and MVP year. The advanced stats suggest that Verlander will rise again this season. His FIP and xFIP are down from years past (that’s fielder independent pitching and expected fielder independent pitching). And his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .344.
The mean BABIP is right around .300, and Verlander’s is usually at least 15 points below that mark, so Verlander’s high BABIP means that there’s some bad luck involved in Verlander’s poor stats. Red Sox fans will hope that Verlander’s poor luck continues (or at least the news that his former girlfriend was spotted with Blake Griffin will distract him).
Keep it here for all the latest on Sunday’s afternoon game. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:08 p.m. EST (and not a minute earlier or later).