"You want to go in with the momentum against those guys, because they had their way with us last time," Gary Sheffield said. "Hopefully, we can turn that around."
The Red Sox entered their Thursday night game with the best record in baseball at 52-31, though Sheffield said it was more important how the Tigers play than focusing on Boston.
"It's not about sending a message to them, it's about us a team," Sheffield said. "Hopefully, we can play better against these guys and take some momentum into the second half."
One mark the Tigers won't be able to surpass is their outstanding start from last year's World Series run. The Tigers were 59-29 entering last year's All-Star break, though manager Jim Leyland said Thursday he was proud of his team for "treading water" while it has continued to battled bullpen injuries. The Tigers have remained in either first or second in the American League Central since the end of April despite missing relievers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney for long stretches of the season.
"I think we've gone through a lot," Leyland said. "We haven't been at full strength, but a lot of clubs aren't, so we aren't any different than anybody else. I think we've done OK."
DET: LHP Andrew Miller (3-2, 3.81 ERA)
Miller allowed six runs over five innings in his first start against an American League team in an 8-5 loss to the Twins on Saturday. Miller had experienced few problems in his first four starts, with a 3-1 record and 2.70 ERA, all of which came in Interleague Play. While the stats against the Twins may not have looked good, Miller said he felt good that his curveball and changeup have continued to develop into usable pitches to complement his fastball.
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (5-6, 4.39 ERA)
Tavarez held his own against the Texas Rangers on Sunday at Fenway Park, but received a single run of support in what has become an all-too-familiar trend for the Boston rotation. He allowed two runs, only one of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings, but allowed 10 baserunners. He threw 62 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
Player to watch
Magglio Ordonez certainly isn't in a slump, but he has gone through a bit of a homerless drought over the past month. He hasn't hit one since June 2 against Cleveland's Cliff Lee, a span of 102 at-bats.
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Official game notes
Saturday: Red Sox (Kason Gabbard, 2-0, 5.79) at Tigers (Jeremy Bonderman, 9-1, 3.58), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 10-5, 3.53) at Tigers (Nate Robertson, 4-6, 4.86), 1:05 p.m. ET
Monday-Wednesday: All-Star break