One hole they wouldn't mind seeing fixed: the fifth spot in an otherwise all-world starting rotation. Right-hander Julian Tavarez has not pitched like the pleasant ground ball-inducing surprise he was last September, when he registered three wins and a 3.52 ERA in five starts.
The last Red Sox pitcher before Daisuke Matsuzaka on Monday to throw a nine-inning complete game, in fact, was Tavarez, on Sept. 22 last year. This season, Tavarez has not pitched into the seventh inning.
Tavarez candidly discussed his troubles after his most recent start, last Friday, saying, "I wish I could pitch tomorrow.
"You don't do good, you can't wait till next time you pitch," Tavarez said, "and get some guys out. [And] make yourself feel better. Because for me it's kind of tough to sleep, you know, and have dinner after the game.
"Hopefully," he added, "the time goes fast so I can get the ball again."
On Wednesday, Tavarez will get the call against Detroit left-hander Mike Maroth, the owner of an 8.02 ERA at Fenway Park over 21 1/3 career innings.
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (1-4, 6.60 ERA)
Tavarez took a step back after a quality start (six innings, two runs) at Minnesota on May 5. He was hit hard by the Orioles at Fenway, although his troubles were mostly limited to the first and fifth innings. Against Detroit, Tavarez owns a 5.11 ERA in 12 1/3 innings.
Only Texas has given Maroth more trouble than the Red Sox over his career. Boston has touched Maroth up for 60 hits and 21 walks in just 38 2/3 career innings. Notably, it was the Red Sox who took Maroth in the third round of the First-Year Player Draft in 1998. Player to watch
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, whose bat has come around in May, with a .992 OPS and nine runs scored in just 11 games, has made mincemeat of Maroth's stuff over the last several years. He has 10 hits and four walks against the Tigers starter in just 16 official at-bats. On the Internet
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WRKO-680 AM, Spanish Baseball Network (Español) Up next
Thursday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 4-1, 3.63) vs. Tigers (Chad Durbin, 3-1, 5.08), 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 7-0, 2.66) vs. Braves (Anthony Lerew, 0-1, 6.52), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 5-2, 4.17) vs. Braves (John Smoltz, 5-2, 3.19), 1:05 p.m. ET
Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.