(SportsNetwork.com) - Max Scherzer will square off against Jon Lester Friday night at Fenway Park, as the Boston Red Sox welcome the Detroit Tigers to town to kick off a three-game series.
Scherzer is aiming for a career-best sixth straight win, having posted a 1.64 ERA over his past five outings. He labored through six innings against Minnesota his last time out yet managed to come away with the win despite allowing four walks and three earned runs. He also struck out six.
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner said he is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Red Sox in their house, although he owns a 7.02 lifetime ERA against Boston.
"Any time you're facing a great team like that, it's going to be a battle," Scherzer said. "That's what makes it fun. For me, it's always fun going in there and playing the Red Sox at Fenway Park."
For Boston, Jon Lester enters with a 2.75 ERA in eight starts this season, and he has won his last two while compiling 22 strikeouts. At Texas this past Saturday, the left-hander went seven innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits while fanning eight. He faced Detroit in last year's ALCS and went 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA.
The two-time All-Star and World Series champion spoke about the intriguing pitching matchup on tap for Friday.
"It's the drawback and the perk of starting Opening Day," he said. "You know that every five days, you're going to face the other team's best. I'm not pitching against that guy, but at the same time you are.
"You know what you're up against. You know that guy's name and his track record and what they've been able to do. At the same time, you have to worry about the lineup and try not to give up as many as the other guy. You know it's going to be a grind from pitch one."
Boston lost two of three at Minnesota this week. On Thursday, the Red Sox suffered a 4-3 setback in the 10th inning when Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks delivered a walk-off single off Andrew Miller. Boston had rallied to force extra innings with two runs in the ninth.
The Tigers have been road warriors of late. They notched their eighth consecutive win on the road at Baltimore Wednesday night, 7-5.
Bryan Holaday and Danny Worth both collected two hits as the Tigers pulled off the road sweep. Starter Justin Verlander was cruising along until giving up five runs in the fifth inning, but the bullpen put up zeroes the rest of the way.
The Tigers currently own the best record in the American League, at 24-12. Now, they will try for their longest road winning streak in 30 years and will do so against a familiar foe. This is the first time these teams are meeting up at Fenway since last year's memorable ALCS, which Boston won in six before going on to win the World Series.