In Friday's Detroit Tigers vs Boston Red Sox game at the Fenway Park in Boston, former Tiger teammates Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello will be facing each other for victory and for pride, adding to the match's excitement.
Verlander and Porcello once shared the diamond with the Tigers for six seasons, but on the opening game of the three-game Tigers-Red Sox series, the former buddies will be playing on opposite sides. However, baseball fans will not be seeing the two facing each other as they vowed never to pitch against the other, but compete only with the hitters they are facing.
The two parted ways in December when the Tigers traded Porcello to the Red Sox, following a long-term deal that eluded him with the Detroit. But Porcello and Verlander are both struggling this season with the latter not connecting the big innings since his return in June. For his part, Porcello's performance is on the decline, far from his old form when he was still in Detroit.
Another player who has a score to settle against his former team is multi-tooled outfielder Yoenis Cespedes who was shipped to Detroit from Boston as part of the deal for Porcello. This will be Cespedes first game in Fenway since the deal. Cespedes spent a little more than two months with the Red Sox after coming over from Oakland in the Jon Lester trade. Alex Wilson, a throw-in in the Cespedes-Porcello trade, also returns as one of the most important pitchers in Detroit's bullpen.
Friday begins a 10-game, three-city road trip that will take the Tigers through the Trade Deadline. Whether they buy or sell, they'll almost surely return to Detroit with at least a slightly different team than the one they had when they left. One American League official tracking the Tigers suggested a decision on whether to buy or sell at the Deadline could come Friday. Others suggested Detroit will wait until Monday, when scouts and front-office members gather for meetings in St. Petersburg.
While the Tigers remain on the fence on whether to buy or sell at the Deadline, the Red Sox stumbled out of the All-Star break to the bottom of the AL, and they made any thoughts of a late-season run tougher and tougher to justify. Friday begins a 10-day homestand that carries them through the Deadline.
The Red Sox are also entering Friday's game with the worst record in the league and the worst road trip in 64 years with 12 games under .500 at 42-54, said Gordon Edes of ESPN. The Red Sox are 12 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East with still 10 weeks to go.
Edes wrote, "Summer has seldom seemed shorter in these parts. Even in the Age of Valentine, the Sox were a .500 team after 96 games and could at least aspire to matter. The only thing these Red Sox -- the first Sox team to lose every game of a trip of at least this length since the 1951 club lost their last eight games of the season -- will be competing for are prime tee times in October."
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You can check out the official MLB website to get a complete list of current standings and scores for the regular 2015 season.