Well first of all I would like to open with my apologies as I have missed the last two series due to graduation last week and traveling this week but I am now back and ready for some serious Red Sox action! The Sox will open a 4 game critical series with the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers which for all we know could be a playoff series at some point! The Red Sox and Tigers have yet to square off this season. The clubs split 10 meetings last year and this year they also rank 1st and 2nd in OBP.  After he caught both games of a doubleheader on Tuesday and was behind the plate again on Wednesday, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is scheduled to finally get a day off for the series opener against Detroit. "With today's matchup, and then with Alvarez -- a left-hander -- going tomorrow, it's likely [Ryan] Lavarnway will be back there handling Lackey over in Detroit, first game," Farrell said Wednesday. With the Jays on a fast pace move to show they are still in this race it will be critical for the Sox to gear up over the next two series before the Jays come to Boston.

 

Game 1: John Lackey (4-5) vs. Jose Alvarez (1-0)

Nobody has had a major league debut quite like Alvarez ever but the southpaw was able to take a no hitter into the 5th inning of his debut on June 9th. The young gun comes from the International league where he leads leads the league in strikeouts (84) and WHIP (1.02). Alvarez will encounter a Boston club that sits 1 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles in a tough American League East. The Red Sox also lead the Majors in runs per game. Veteran right-hander John Lackey will toe the rubber for Boston. Lackey has compiled a 4-5 record and a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts this season, though he has posted a 3-1 mark and a 2.39 ERA across his last six outings. On Saturday, Lackey had one of his best starts of the season as he held the Orioles to just two runs over seven innings. He surrendered both runs in the first frame before blanking Baltimore for the ensuing six innings. In 23 lifetime at-bats against Lackey, Victor Martinez has a .435 average. Jhonny Peralta has had similar success, batting .393 in 28 at-bats. 

Prediction: Red Sox win 5-2

 

Game 2: Jon Lester (6-4) vs. Doug Fister (6-4)

Jhonny Peralta sent the Tigers home happy Thursday when he hit a two-run, walk-off homer for a 4-3 win in the series opener and for game 2 we will see some evenly matched pitchers. Doug Fister flirted with a no-hitter in his last start on Sunday against the Twins before he surrendered a home run to Brian Dozier leading off the sixth. Fister allowed two runs on two hits over 7 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander has a 3.21 ERA on the year. Jon Lester was among the Majors' best pitchers as recently as May 15. He was 6-0, had a 2.72 ERA and the Red Sox had won seven of the nine games he started. Since then the ship has turned for Lester as he is now 6-4 but still has had a few quality starts here and there. He'll try to right the ship Friday when he takes the mound against the Tigers, but Detroit has historically had success against Lester. In five career starts against the club, he's 0-2 with a 4.78 ERA.The Orioles hung five runs on Lester in just five innings Sunday, but manager John Farrell still viewed it as progress.

Prediction: Red Sox win 6-3

 

Game 4: Felix Doubront (4-3) vs. Justin Verlander (8-5)

Reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander has been as the norm this year so far. He has pitched very well and is getting the wins he needs but Verlander has built such a reputation that more is truly expected out of the righty. After four consecutive starts lasting seven innings each, Verlander allowed five earned runs in five innings against the Orioles Tuesday. Last year, he allowed eight earned runs in his last two starts versus the Red Sox. When Verlander takes the mound Sunday, he'll have a chance to seal a series win over the Red Sox, who command the American League's best record at 45-32. The Tigers topped Boston on Saturday night, 10-3, and have won two of three in the series thus far. To face Verlander will be young starter, Felix Doubront who is coming off not only the best game of his season but also the best game of his career. Against the Rays on Tuesday, he needed just 93 pitches to throw eight shutout innings. Though his bid for the win was thwarted when Andrew Bailey blew the save in the ninth inning, it was the first time in Doubront's career he lasted beyond the seventh inning. The performance was the lefty's fifth quality start in his last six outings, dating back to May 21. This is really starting to show that this young future of the Red Sox is ready to get into action right away! After losing Thursday and Saturday the Sox look to even out the series with a win today. 

 

Prediction: Tigers win 4-2