Justin Verlander has his best stuff going for him so far Tuesday, but John Lackey has managed to match him almost pitch for pitch through six frames. No one has managed to bring a run across just yet, but the Red Sox have to be excited that they've at least got a hit.
Before Tuesday night, Tigers pitching hadn't surrendered a knock before the sixth inning in their last three games, going 6⅔, 8⅓ and 5⅔ no-hit innings, respectively. (That's a surprising amount of non-hitting against one of the league's worst defenses.)
Jonny Gomes got the Red Sox off the snide hit-wise with two outs in the fifth inning. It wasn't exactly a smash, but at least it came relatively early on:
If Verlander had maintained his dominance for three more innings, Tigers fans would have always wondered about what would have happened if Jose Iglesias were playing shortstop. As it is, though, Jacoby Ellsbury got a surefire hit up the middle in the sixth, so there shouldn't be any lingering "what ifs" there.
As good as Verlander's been through the first six innings, Lackey's been right there with him. Big John has equaled Verlander in the strikeout total (eight) through this point, and has doesn't have any free passes on his line.
Verlander will enter the seventh inning just 10 pitches from triple digits, while Lackey is 12 pitches away, meaning an appearance by each team's bullpen seems guaranteed.