The teams’ series is set to continue minutes after the trade deadline, which could have an impact on both injury-wracked contenders as each tries to cap a subpar July with a victory at Fenway Park.
“It’s something special, this first at-bat for the Tigers,” Peralta said. “I feel good to come here the first game and do what I’m doing.”
The Tigers are six games behind Chicago and 4 1/2 back of Minnesota in the AL Central, and Friday’s victory was their fourth in 16 games since the All-Star break.
The Red Sox (58-45) closed their West Coast trip with three straight victories in Anaheim this week, but David Ortiz’s(notes) ninth-inning grand slam Friday wasn’t enough to complete a late comeback in the opener of their seven-game homestand.
Boston, which is 7 1/2 games behind New York in the AL East and 6 1/2 back of Tampa Bay for the wild card, has gone 11-13 this month. Key players Victor Martinez(notes), Josh Beckett(notes) and Clay Buchholz(notes) all missed time due to injuries this month, while Dustin Pedroia(notes) and Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) are still sidelined.
“There’s possible movement,” manager Terry Francona told the Red Sox’s official website. “It just seems to make sense to get through another day or two days and then do what we need to do.”
Scherzer (7-8, 4.45 ERA) hopes to continue a strong string of starts dating back to mid-June. In his last eight outings, the right-hander has gone 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA.
Matsuzaka (7-3, 4.09) flirted with that feat May 22 at Philadelphia, working 7 2-3 no-hit innings before allowing Juan Castro’s(notes) single in a 5-0 victory. The right-hander has also been sharp lately, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last three starts.
He worked around four hits and five walks to work six solid innings Sunday at Seattle, but missed a chance for his third consecutive victory when Boston’s bullpen faltered late in a 4-2 defeat.
“I was just desperate in trying to do what I could to give our team a chance to win,” said Matsuzaka, who is 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five career starts against Detroit.
Peralta is hitless in 11 career at-bats against the Japan native.
Scherzer has faced the Red Sox once, allowing three homers - two to Ortiz - in a 7-2 home loss May 14.