The Red Sox enter Monday's Memorial Day matchup with the Tigers looking to move back to the .500 mark. They will have the best arm on the mound for that as Felix Doubront goes for a team leading fifth win.
He will face a Tigers team that is missing Austin Jackson, their speedy leadoff hitter, who had a fantastic opening series against Boston back in April. Even though Jackson is out of the lineup, he will still have to be aggressive with his pitches to the big two in Detroit's lineup -– Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Daniel Bard has been more effective out of the bullpen during his career with the Red Sox, but it is important to keep in mind that he is a converted reliever and has been solid, despite knowing that he has walked an average of just over three batters per outing and the same for his strikeout numbers. Detroit may have the advantage in this one as Detroit sends its ace Justin Verlander to the hill to counter Bard. Look for Bard to come out strong and pitch like he wants to get the win that helps move his team from worst to first.
Jon Lester usually struggles early in the season, especially in April. Now that April is well behind us and the calendar flips to June on Friday, look for Lester to be sharper and more determined to get back to his winning ways after a poor performance against Tampa Bay. He only lasted four innings, giving up six hits and seven runs, all of which were earned. Lester gives up very few home runs but gave up three in his last start. The Sox have been playing well as of late and he is a guy the team needs to rely on going deeper into the season. Look for him to turn things around.
Since Josh Beckett's disastrous outing against Cleveland on May 10, when he only retired seven batters before being yanked from the game. He has given up three earned runs in 21 2/3 innings and struck out 19 batters. He faced three solid teams in those last three starts and will see a fourth when he faces the big bats of the Tigers. He has faced Detroit already this season and he didn't have his stuff. He only made it 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs, seven hits and five home runs. We'll have to wait and see if this performance repeats on Thursday or if the new and improved Beckett shows up.
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