Verlander, Tigers search for sweep

Verlander, Tigers search for sweep

No Tigers pitcher of any experience level has won 15 games in a full season since Willie Blair and Justin Thompson in 1997. Rookie Justin Verlander could this year do it just after the midpoint of August.

Five days after the White Sox hit him around for their third win over Verlander in as many starts this season, the rookie right-hander hopes his fortunes against the Red Sox will be a little better in his first meeting with Boston and his first trip to Fenway Park.

"To have the opportunity to come here and be part of this is pretty exciting for me," Verlander said.

To be on the mound for it, with the chance to give Detroit another critical win, is something else. With wins in the first two games of this series, the Tigers have already earned more wins at Fenway in two days than they had in their previous three years combined. Another win, and the Tigers will have their first series sweep at Fenway since 1983.

It'll be Verlander's first outing since working with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez over the weekend on tweaking his mechanics to remove some motions that they believed tipped his pitches to White Sox hitters. He'll try to be as unpredictable as he can against Red Sox sluggers David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, whom Tigers pitchers have held in check through two games of the series. They're a combined 2-for-13 this series, and neither of the hits came off Detroit starters.

Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson, the starting pitchers on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, both talked after their games about pitching aggressively to the power-hitting duo. Both used their sliders effectively. Verlander does not have the slider that those two own, but he makes up for it with the combination of upper-90s fastballs and a nasty breaking ball that can freeze hitters.

Pitching matchup
DET: RHP Justin Verlander (14-5, 2.95 ERA)
Verlander can only hope Red is a better color of Sox for him compared to Chicago, which beat him for the third time this season in his last start. He gave up 13 hits in five innings, but four of those runs came from a pair of two-run homers in his final inning of work. His pitching showed little -- if any -- rust from nine days rest.

BOS: LHP David Wells (1-2, 6.23 ERA)
In his third game back from the disabled list, Wells stayed on the mound for his longest outing of the season and secured his first win. He threw seven innings, allowing one run and nine hits while striking out four against Baltimore. In the injury-depleted Boston pitching rotation, Wells could be the difference-maker down the stretch.

Player to watch
Ivan Rodriguez is 19-for-57 (.333) lifetime off Wells, with four doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN Detroit

On radio
• WXYT-AM 1270

Up next
• Thursday: Rangers (RHP Edinson Volquez, 1-1, 3.00) at Tigers (LHP Kenny Rogers, 11-6, 4.36), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Rangers (RHP Kevin Millwood, 11-8, 4.73) at Tigers (RHP Zach Miner, 7-2, 4.05), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Rangers (RHP Kip Wells, 2-5, 6.50) at Tigers (LHP Nate Robertson, 11-8, 3.85), 7:05 p.m. ET

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.