Red Sox-Tigers Preview

The baseball season is clearly in the dog days of summer for non-contending teams that have spent more than half a calendar year together with minimal postseason hopes to provide motivation.

The Detroit Tigers don't seem to be handling this unfamiliar situation too well.

The Tigers look to even this three-game home series with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night after a fight between two of their players in the dugout was the major story of the opener.

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These teams look to be finishing up disappointing campaigns. Detroit (53-56) is 11 1/2 games out in the AL Central with six teams ahead of it in the wild-card race while Boston (49-61) is 13 games out in the East.

The Tigers will likely see their streak of reaching the postseason end at four years, and their 7-2 loss Friday was marred by an altercation between catcher James McCann and shortstop Jose Iglesias in the sixth inning that third baseman Nick Castellanos helped break up.

''You spend seven months with each other, there's going to be disagreements and sometimes it leads to pushing and shoving,'' beleaguered manager Brad Ausmus said.

''I've seen it dozens of times during my playing career. It's generally just because they care about winning and losing and that's what it was tonight.''

The Red Sox served further notice that they are looking to the future by trading Mike Napoli to Texas on Friday for a player to be named or cash. Napoli batted .207 in 98 games.

Pablo Sandoval was originally given Friday off but replaced Napoli in the lineup and went 1 for 3 with a walk. David Ortiz homered while Xander Bogaerts and Rusney Castillo each had three hits in Boston's second win in 11 road games.

Detroit's J.D. Martinez drilled his 30th homer - his third in the last seven games.

Saturday's pitching matchup features starters with identical 4.55 ERAs who met twice last year for underachieving NL teams. Now Alfredo Simon and Wade Miley are in similar circumstances after switching leagues.

They went 1-1 in their 2014 matchups, with Simon (10-6) posting a 3.38 ERA for Cincinnati and Miley (8-9) at 2.84 for Arizona.

Simon has allowed five runs over 11 2-3 innings in winning consecutive road outings, yielding one run in six innings to earn a 5-1 victory over the Red Sox on July 25 in his first start against them in nearly four years. Ortiz is 2 for 8 with four walks against him and Hanley Ramirez is 3 for 6.

The right-hander, who had this start pushed back three days by groin issues that cropped up the last time he faced the Red Sox, is 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in his last three home outings.

Boston has dropped five straight starts by Miley, who is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in his last six. He has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his last four.

The left-hander has never faced Detroit, with Ian Kinsler 0 for 3 against him. He may be wary of Iglesias, a .372 hitter versus southpaws.