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07/06/07 1:39 AM ET

Sox head to Motor City showdown

Boston (53-31) at Detroit (49-34), Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET

It is almost like the prequel to the All-Star Game. When the Red Sox and Tigers meet up this weekend at Comerica Park, beginning with Friday night's contest, there will be no fewer than 11 All-Stars in the two dugouts.

The Red Sox have six All-Stars, which is the most of any team. But the Tigers, the defending American League champions, have five of their own, not to mention the All-Star manager in Jim Leyland.

There should be some good baseball on tap in the Motor City.

"They've got some veteran guys that have been around the game," said Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp, who has heated up with the bat. "They know how to stay within their approach, even against guys that try to take them out of it. They stay with their game. They have some good speed, contact and power. So they have a good mix one through nine."

Mike Lowell, coming off the first five-hit game of his career, hopes to keep it going against Detroit. For Lowell knows the Sox will need all the offensive support they can get to keep pace with the Tigers.

"They have a very potent offense," Lowell said. "You look at a guy like [Gary] Sheffield swinging the bat. It's unbelievable. Now Magglio [Ordonez is] having a great year. But guys that don't have all the fanfare, you know, Carlos Guillen is an RBI machine. He's a guy that you can't take lightly.

"They've got a lot of veteran guys. [Placido] Polanco is a tremendous hitter, he knows how to hit in different situations. And they've got good speed with [Curtis] Granderson. They've got a potent lineup. But hopefully our pitchers can do a good job and we can hold 'em down a little."

That task will be up to Julian Tavarez on Friday.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (5-6, 4.39 ERA)
Tavarez held his own against the Texas Rangers on Sunday at Fenway Park, but he received a single run of support in what has become an all-too familiar trend for the Boston rotation. Tavarez, who threw 62 of his 106 pitches for strikes, allowed two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings, but he allowed 10 baserunners.

DET: LHP Andrew Miller (3-2, 3.81 ERA)
Miller allowed six runs over five innings in his first start against an American League team in an 8-5 loss to the Twins on Saturday. Miller had experienced few problems in his first four starts, with a 3-1 record and 2.70 ERA, all of which came in Interleague Play. While the stats against the Twins may not have looked good, Miller said he felt good that his curveball and changeup have continued to develop into usable pitches to complement his fastball.

Player to watch
Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez is 7-for-18 lifetime against Tavarez.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Red Sox (Kason Gabbard, 2-0, 5.79) at Tigers (Jeremy Bonderman, 9-1, 3.58), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 10-5, 3.53) at Tigers (Nate Robertson, 4-6, 4.86), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 9-8. 4.39) vs. Blue Jays (TBA), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.