(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers will close out a three-game series Sunday at Comerica Park as veterans John Lackey and Anibal Sanchez duel it out in a tight pitching matchup.
Both Lackey and Sanchez are coming off a pair of strong starts, in which each starter lasted at least 6 1/3 innings.
Lackey, who owns a 6-4 record with a 3.28 earned run average this year, took a tough loss Monday against the Indians on the road. The 35-year-old right- hander has almost returned to his former glory since undergoing Tommy John surgery a few years ago, and has already racked up 71 strikeouts to just 16 walks in 12 starts this season.
It was a tough loss for Lackey to swallow Monday, as he lasted eight innings and gave up eight hits and three earned runs in a 3-2 Indians victory. However, in his two starts prior to Monday's tilt, Lackey pitched 6 1/3 and eight innings of shutout baseball against the Braves and Rays, respectively.
The Tigers will counter with Sanchez, who sports a 2-2 record on the season with a 2.15 ERA and 46 strikeouts. Sanchez missed a few weeks with a laceration on his right middle finger at the start of May, but has been on point since returning.
The 30-year-old righty tossed seven innings of two-hit shutout ball Tuesday in a start against Toronto, which ultimately yielded a no-decision. Prior to that, Sanchez hurled 8 1/3 innings against the Athletics on May 28, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out nine batters - his season high.
Sanchez hasn't picked up a loss since April 21. In one career start against Boston (earlier this season) he threw five innings and gave up two runs (one earned) in a 6-2 Tigers victory.
Max Scherzer must have simply had a blip on the radar in his last outing, because he looked to be at top form Saturday night against the Red Sox in Detroit's 8-6 win. Scherzer got the win for the Tigers after going 6 2/3 innings, surrendering four earned runs, 11 hits and striking out nine batters.
On the other hand, it was a rough day for Jon Lester and the Red Sox, who have lost all five games they've played against Detroit this season. Lester gave up 12 hits and five runs in just 4 1/3 innings of work Saturday.
"I didn't feel good from the first toss in the bullpen to the last pitch I threw in the game," Lester said. "Against that (Detroit) offense, that means a long night. I flat-out wasted this game and the performance by our offense."
Austin Jackson was the only member of the Tigers' lineup to not drive in an run Saturday.
David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia each drove in two runs for the Sox, and Brock Holt recorded another two hits.
Sunday's game marks the last time the Red Sox and Tigers will clash during the regular season, which means it's Boston's last chance to avoid being swept by last year's AL runner-up.
The Red Sox will try to end a five-game losing streak, and the Tigers, who were swept by Toronto in the previous series, are looking to turn it around on Boston.