W2W4: Sox-Tigers, 'Sunday Night Baseball'
June, 8, 2014
By Paul Harris | Special to ESPNBoston.com
DETROIT -- The Boston Red Sox look to avoid a series and season sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" at Comerica Park.
Not only has Boston lost the first two games of the series, it has dropped five consecutive games this season to the team it beat in the American League Championship Series last season.
But reinforcements are on the way.
First baseman Mike Napoli, who has been on the disabled list since late May with inflammation stemming from a dislocated finger on his left hand, is scheduled to be activated on Sunday, and the plan is for him to go right into the lineup at first and his accustomed fifth spot in the batting order behind David Ortiz.
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsMike Napoli sat in Boston's dugout Saturday, but the Sox hope he provides a boost in his return to the lineup Sunday.
The Red Sox had been struggling offensively, but their bats perked up in Saturday night's 8-6 loss to the Tigers, and they're expecting another boost from Napoli.
"You're talking about a guy who had over 20 home runs and almost 100 RBI for us a year ago [23 homers and 92 RBIs]," Boston manager John Farrell said. "So that's a guy we're happy to have back."
Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who homered on Saturday night, agreed.
"A huge part of our order. A run producer. We need him," Pedroia said.
The Red Sox will send John Lackey (6-4, 3.28 ERA) to the mound against Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (2-2, 2.15).
Jon Lester was totally ineffective in taking the loss on Saturday night. He gave up five runs and 12 hits in 4⅓ innings. He said he didn't feel right from the time he started warming up in the bullpen.
"Hopefully, Lackey will come out and pick me up tomorrow night," Lester said after Saturday night's game.
Sanchez has allowed only a combined run and five hits in 15⅓ innings over his past two starts, with one walk and 14 strikeouts, but doesn't have a win to show for it.
The Tigers also feature the dangerous duo of Miguel Cabrera (.321, 11 HR and 51 RBIs) batting third in the order and Victor Martinez (.329, 14 HR and 37 RBIs) batting cleanup.
Cabrera was 3-for-4, including two doubles, with a RBI on Saturday night, and Martinez had a run-scoring double in five at-bats.