But right now, it's time for ... Objectivity Watch.
I had a gut feeling we'd get the Tigers' feed tonight, and I was right.
Fox Sports News' Tigers guys are Mario Impemba (play-by-play) and Rod Allen (analyst [sic]). If you've ever heard these guys, they are fairly ignorable if the Tigers are losing -- though grossly ignorant about the other team and prone to moronic statements about the game of baseball itself.
But let the Tigers grab a lead ... and look out. These guys, especially Allen, start trash-talking and (what sounds like) strutting around the booth, crowing about how great and unbeatable the Tigers are. We heard it last season and it was on display tonight.
Allen was in rare form.
Top of the seventh, Tigers up 4-1:
I'd like to see a few more tack-on runs for the good guys.Top of the eighth, Tigers up 4-1; Sheffield walks and Donnelly replaces Wakefield. After Ordonez and Guillen both fly out to center, Rodriguez doubles into the left field corner, scoring Sheffield (5-1); Monroe (K, P3, K against Wake) is up:
C'mon Craig, drive this one in!Monroe obeys, singling and driving in I-Rod (6-1):
Good goin', Craig! ... I just like to hear this Boston crowd so quiet.Sean Casey lines a single to right, and Monroe scores (7-1):
They came to play tonight. Boy, did they come to play tonight.Donnelly is pulled:
He's been pretty good this year, but he hadn't seen the Tigers yet.Top of the ninth, with Sheffield up, Impemba says:
Another full count for Sheffield.Sheff's counts tonight when putting the ball in play or walking: 0-2, 1-2, 1-2, 3-1.
Good work, guys. Allen is threatening to make Hawk Harrelson sound like a neutral observer.
The FSN cameras showed puh-lenty of Red Sox fans heading for the exits when Detroit was batting in the eighth. Booooooooooooooo!
As I was fond of yelling at departing Yankee fans when the Sox had a nice lead in the Bronx: "We play nine in this league!"
Justin Verlander (2.83, 151 ERA+) / Tim Wakefield (1.79, 244 ERA+)
Wakefield makes his eighth start of the year and his third at Fenway. In each of his last two starts, he's allowed no runs and three hits in seven innings. Opponents are hitting .189 against him this year, with a .277 on-base percentage and a .280 slugging percentage. Oakland's Dan Haren threw eight shutout innings last night and moved ahead of Wakefield at the top of the AL ERA leaderboard: 1.69.
Verlander is also making his eighth start. Opponents are hitting .242/.331/.331 off him. In his only appearance against the Red Sox -- August 16, 2006 -- he pitched six innings, allowing five runs, six hits and seven walks. Boston won 6-4.
Alex Cora gets the start tonight at second base.
The Globe reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka's complete game came in his eighth major league start -- the fewest number of starts for a Japanese-born pitcher. Hideo Nomo's first complete game came in his 11th start (June 24, 1995). ... The Globe also says Josh Beckett threw off a mound today.