|Justin Verlander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Tonight at Fenway Park in Boston, the Red Sox will put their number 5 starter, Daniel Bard, up against reigning Cy Young and MVP Award winner Justin Verlander.
In 10 starts on the season, Verlander has posted a 5-2 record with a 2.15 ERA with 75 K in 75 1/3 IP. The overpowering righty opened the season against the Red Sox on April 6, out dueling Jon Lester for 8 innings, allowing just 2 H and 0 ER.
The Detroit Tigers' ace has showed in 2012 that he's as good as he was last season. His 7 quality starts and the fact that he's allowed more than 3 ER just twice is enough proof for me.
Red Sox starter Daniel Bard on the other hand has had a bit of a bumpy ride in his first season in the rotation. Issues with control and velocity have plagued the former setup reliever, especially recently.
On the season, the righty is 4-5 with a 4.69 ERA in 8 starts and 1 relief appearance. The numbers could be much better though if not for the 29 free passes issued compared to 28 K's for Bard. In 5 out of his 8 starts made, he has walked at least 4 with a season high of 7 in the second start of his career against the Rays on April 16.
Tonight will be the first start of his career against Detroit, so the righty should look to establish his fastball early and keep Tigers batters off balance with his offspeed pitches.
No matter how well the number 5 starter pitches, it will be a hard fought battle against the ace of the American League and possibly the major leagues. If the Red Sox walk away with a winning record tonight it will rest on Daniel Bard's shoulders.
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