Max Scherzer will attempt to keep his perfect mark on the line Saturday as the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox square off in the third test of a four-game set at Comerica Park.
Scherzer is the first starting pitcher to begin a season 10-0 since Roger Clemens opened the 1997 campaign 11-0. To go along with his stellar 3.08 ERA, Scherzer has also racked up 116 strikeouts, second-most in the American League.
The right-hander was on his game yet again his last time out, allowing one earned run in six innings of work while striking out 10 in a win over Baltimore on June 17. It was the fifth time this season he has fanned double- digit batters in a game, and he's the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2001 with at least six strikeouts in each of his first 14 starts of a season.
"He's at the top of his game pretty much," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
The former first-round pick, though, has not enjoyed much success against the Red Sox in his career, going 1-3 with a 9.21 ERA in six starts over 28 1/3 innings.
Boston will answer with Allen Webster, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this week. He's had a strong year in the International League, going 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA. Webster is getting a chance with Clay Buchholz sidelined due to a sore neck.
The 23-year-old made his major league debut earlier this season, putting together an impressive performance against the Royals on April 21 (6 IP, 2 ER, 5 K). His second outing undid all the positives of his first, however, as he surrendered eight earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the Twins on May 8 as his ERA ballooned to 11.74.
On Friday, the Red Sox got the better of the Tigers in a slugfest, 10-6, and snapped a two-game losing streak in the process while remaining atop the standings in the AL East.
Shane Victorino finished 4-for-5 with a career-high five RBI, belting his third home run of the season in the top of the first inning.
"I didn't even know what my career high was," Victorino said. "It's great. Any time you get four hits and five RBIs, for a guy like me, you always get excited."
Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias both shined at the bottom of the lineup with three hits apiece. Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits and two RBI, while Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia also had two hits.
Jon Lester allowed nine hits, three walks and five earned runs in less than six innings of work, but he benefited from his team's offensive explosion to earn the win.
Doug Fister had his worst start of the season for the Tigers, surrendering 11 hits and six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. He continues to lead the American League in hitting (.368) and RBI (74) and ranks second behind only Chris Davis in home runs with 20.
Andy Dirks also left the yard for the home team, while Torii Hunter and Brayan Pena each collected two hits. Detroit opened this set with Thursday's 4-3 win.
The Red Sox and Tigers split 10 meetings last season.