Tigers Vs. Redsox: A Look Inside The Numbers

Patrick BContributor IAugust 10, 2009

CHICAGO - JUNE 08: Manager Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers watches as his team takes on the Chicago White Sox on June 8, 2009 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The series with the Boston Red Sox is an intriguing one. Jim Leyland brings in his Tigers squad into Boston leading the AL Central by 3 games over the Chicago White Sox after a 5-2 homestand, including two wins over Minnesota, which gave the Tigers a little more breathing room in the standings.

However, Boston is finding itself struggling to keep up with the surging Yankees. The Red Sox are now 6 games back of those Yankees after being swept in a 4 game series by the AL East leaders and will really need to turn it on down the stretch if they want any chance at catching New York.

Back in June, Boston swept a 3 game series from Detroit at Comerica Park, a series in which the Tigers appeared beaten by the better team. However, things may be looking up for the Tigers headed into this series.

Since the all-star break, Detroit has batted a somewhat dismal .264 overall and .245 all season on the road. Boston, on the other hand, has batted an even less impressive .252 overall since the all-star break. The Red Sox typically hit well in their home ballpark, but Detroit's pitching staff has been stellar and is the reason why they are in first place to begin with.

Detroit and Boston both have a 4.19 era overall. Post all-star break, Detroit has been a smidgen better at 4.59 compared to 4.67 for Boston. You have to like the matchups Detroit has throughout the series as well. While Edwin Jackson, the starter for series opener for Detroit, has struggled in his career at Fenway, he is having the best season of his career. While his record isn't great, he doesn't get the run support he deserves for his steady pitching this season. The rookie Rick Porcello, in his last 2 starts, has pitched stellar, and Justin Verlander is arguably one of the best pitchers in the game right now.

The series is going to boil down to who hits the ball. The Tigers and Red Sox both have the same ERA heading into this matchup. Boston is strong offensively and defensively at home (second best record in baseball behind the Yankees at home), while the Tigers still can't seem to consistently put the bat on the ball on the road (11th in the AL).

If the Tigers can ride the momentum from a successful homestand into Boston, they may take the series from the Sox. At the least, the Tigers need a split. They need to prove that they can compete with the best in the AL and beat teams when they are down. While the remaining series' with Chicago and Minnesota are the most important for Detroit, every series is important when making a run for the pennant, and this is a crucial series both for Boston and Detroit. It should be an exciting 4 games.