Jon Lester will look to build off last Sunday's dominant start when he takes the ball against reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the Tigers on Saturday in Detroit.
Lester tossed seven shutout innings against the Rays in his last outing, fanning 12 in a 4-0 win. This season, the lefty has posted a 3.15 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, both career lows so far, and has struck out at least seven batters in nine of 12 starts this season.
"As an aficionado of baseball, you love to see a bulldog on the mound," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Lester. "He's going to come after you. ... Before I was managing, he was a lot of fun to watch. Quite frankly, I hope he stinks tomorrow, but he's fun to watch."
Scherzer picked up right where he left off in 2013 to begin this season, but the last three starts have been rough for the 29-year-old. In those outings -- all on the road, against Cleveland, Oakland and Seattle -- opponents posted a .349/.382/.590 slash line against him. He's given up 16 earned runs in his last 19 2/3 innings.
Scherzer's last win came May 16 against the Red Sox, when he scattered three hits, four walks and seven strikeouts over six shutout innings.
Lester, meanwhile, has struggled against the Tigers in his eight career starts, posting a 4.35 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, his worst mark against any team he's had at least five outings against.
Along the lines of that "bulldog" mentality described by Ausmus, Lester insists he's never trying to strike anyone out. Instead, he's pitching to contact and trusting his stuff by going right after hitters. Sometimes, when he's on, the strikeouts come as a byproduct of that.
"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. "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."
Tigers: Suarez's knee improving
The Tigers are looking to Eugenio Suarez, rated No. 6 by MLB.com in the organization's prospect rankings, for answers at shortstop. But after he slid into second base awkwardly Wednesday night in place of Andrew Romine, Suarez's first start has had to wait.
The 22-year-old shortstop walked around the clubhouse without a limp Friday, and Ausmus upgraded Suarez's status from day to day to "hour to hour."
"He looked good," Ausmus said. "He's walking good. He was on the elliptical a little bit. They're going to treat him some more today. We feel like he's in good shape."
Suarez started the season with Double-A Erie, and in 222 plate appearances between Erie and Triple-A Toledo, he posted a .288/.360/.510 slash line.
Red Sox: Colbrunn remains hospitalized following brain hemorrhage
Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is still in a Cleveland hospital after he suffered a brain hemorrhage before Wednesday night's game against the Indians. He'll remain there for at least another week, but general manager Ben Cherington said the organization is optimistic Colbrunn will make a full recovery.
Colbrunn complained about headaches Wednesday afternoon, and they got worse as the day progressed. He went to the hospital, and doctors diagnosed him with subarachnoid hemorrhage, described as bleeding between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain. Colbrunn's family is with him in Cleveland.
"It's very serious," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're hopeful he does return to us. But with the information we have now, his health is first and foremost. The timeframe will work itself out."
Assistant coach Victor Rodriguez will serve as the team's interim hitting coach. Colbrunn, 44, has been the Red Sox hitting coach since the start of last season.
• Miguel Cabrera is batting .480/.606/.680 is his career against Lester. He has 12 hits, including two doubles and a home run, in 25 at-bats.
• David Ortiz has 18 home runs in 50 career games at Comerica Park, tied with Paul Konerko (115 games) for the most dingers by an opponent in Comerica's history.
• The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak with a win Friday, avoiding their longest skid since losing seven-straight from April 26-May 2, 2011.