Red Sox-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer has struggled in recent starts to regain the dominant form he showed while outdueling the Boston Red Sox's Jon Lester last month.

Scherzer will get another chance to get back on track as he makes his first home start in nearly a month Saturday night against Lester and the Red Sox.

Scherzer (6-2, 3.20 ERA) is 0-1 with a 7.32 ERA in his three starts since a 1-0 victory at Fenway Park on May 16. He has a 1.68 WHIP in those games after posting a 1.03 mark while going 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his first nine starts.

The right-hander gave up three hits in six innings and struck out seven in the win over Boston. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings Sunday in a 4-0 loss in Seattle, but took some positives from the outing because he also walked none and struck out seven.

"When you are not walking guys and you are striking guys out, it's a good thing," Scherzer said. "You wear this one on the chin and keep going."

Scherzer's first home start since May 10 might help his chances for a better performance. He's 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in five starts at Comerica Park this season and 12-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his last 16.

Scherzer gave up two runs over seven innings in his most recent home matchup with Boston, a 10-3 win June 22. He's 2-2 with a 2.16 ERA in last five starts against the Red Sox, including two in last year's AL championship series.

In his next meeting, he'll look to help the Tigers improve to 5-0 in this season's series. Detroit (32-25) received home runs from Torii Hunter, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez to win 6-2 in Friday's opener.

Hunter and Nick Castellanos combined for six of the club's 13 hits as the Tigers snapped a season-high five-game skid. They batted .184 and scored 10 runs during their losing streak and had dropped 13 of 17 since their three-game sweep at Fenway from May 16-18.

Boston (27-33) is 0-4 on its nine-game trip after winning a season-best seven in a row.

The Red Sox are batting .206 with 11 runs during their losing streak and have gone 8 for 57 (.140) with runners in scoring position in their last seven games. They went 0 for 6 on Friday.

"Offensively, we're scuffling," manager John Farrell said. "We've had a rough go with runners in scoring position."

Lester (6-6, 3.15) led his club to its most recent victory, 4-0 over Tampa Bay on Sunday, while striking out 12 over seven innings.

Lester is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last two starts and has won back-to-back decisions on the road. The left-hander gave up one run and struck out seven over five innings in losing to Scherzer and is 2-2 with a 1.90 ERA in his last four starts against the Tigers, including two in last year's postseason.

Hunter - 8 for 18 (.444) in the four wins over Boston this season - is 15 for 38 (.395) lifetime versus Lester, including the playoffs. Miguel Cabrera is 12 for 25 (.480) against the left-hander and 8 for 15 (.533) in this year's series.

David Ortiz is 8 for 21 (.381) with three homers lifetime against Scherzer but has just two hits in his last 11 at-bats.