Tigers fans have become accustomed to pitching excellence thanks to Justin Verlander, but this season, a different hurler on the staff has made pitching history and outperformed Detroit's ace.
Max Scherzer became the first Tigers starter to begin a season 10-0 since George Mullin in 1909, who won his first 11 decisions, according to Elias Sports Bureau, on his way to 29 wins.
"Yeah, you have to savor this a little bit because of the history of this organization," Scherzer said of the accomplishment. "It's special to be 10-0, but at the end of the day, I don't measure my success on being 10-0. I measure my success on everything else I do on the mound."
Scherzer, who has a 3.09 ERA on the season, hasn't lost a decision since Sept. 23 and will try to extend that streak Saturday when he takes the mound against the Red Sox.
Boston has historically dominated Scherzer, who is just 1-3 with a 9.21 ERA in six career starts against the Sox. However, the right-hander feels he's a new pitcher with better command and more pitches than he has had at any point in his career.
"The biggest thing with this lineup is you have to work ahead in the count," Scherzer said. "They're really good about grinding at-bats out against you. You have to be ahead in the count, otherwise they'll grind an at-bat away and make you pay when you make a mistake. They're always a challenging lineup, but at the end of the day, I believe in my talents and I believe if I go out there and pitch my best, I'll come out on top."
Originally, the Red Sox slated Clay Buchholz to start Saturday, but due to continued soreness in his neck, Allen Webster will make a spot start.
Webster, who is ranked Boston's No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, has experienced mixed results in his two starts this season. The righty showed promise when he gave up three runs (two earned) in a loss against Kansas City on April 21, but the Twins shelled him for eight runs in just 1 2/3 innings on May 8.
"I wanted to put it behind me since a minute after the game when it happened," Webster said. "It was just a bad day. You have to learn from it and go from there."
The 23-year-old has regrouped at Triple-A. In 10 starts with Pawtucket, he is 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA.
"Much better command [of late] -- and particularly to his fastball," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's worked deeper into games. He's been a little bit more efficient. The stuff has been very consistent, similar to what we've seen here in the two starts than what he showed us in Spring Training. We're looking forward to seeing him here Saturday."
Red Sox: Bailey ousted as closer
After blowing three out of his last five save attempts, Andrew Bailey will no longer serve as the Red Sox's closer.
At least for now, Farrell will turn to right-hander Koji Uehara to take over the role. In 32 games this season, Uehara has a 2.10 ERA and opponents are hitting .176 against him. He has walked seven while striking out 42 over 30 innings.
"I had a chance to talk to both him and Andrew, and just where we're at, Andrew needs to back out and get some [non-save] opportunities where he gets a little momentum," Farrell said. "We did this before with him and Joel [Hanrahan] as well. All good players go through stretches where things aren't happening for them, so that's where we're at right now."
Bailey posted a 15.75 ERA over his last five save opportunities and opponents batted .444 against him. Based on the struggles, Bailey said he understood the demotion.
"[Farrell] just said that we're going to back you out for a little while and just kind of give me a little breather," said Bailey. "It's understandable for sure. I'm not doing the job. I totally get it. One bad week doesn't necessarily make it a bad year."
Tigers: Valverde designated for assignment
Growing impatient of Jose Valverde's continued struggles, the Tigers designated him for assignment Friday.
Valverde gave up 11 runs in his last eight appearances, including blowing two saves for the ballclub. In a non-save situation Wednesday, he gave up four earned runs against the Orioles on just 10 pitches.
"I think the reality is that we didn't really think he would hit this point, but he did," president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He's struggled, and sometimes when you get in a struggle and you get in a downward spiral, you can't get out of it. I think that's where he is right now, and we think that hopefully we can help him get out of it at the Triple-A level, but it would be difficult to do here right now."
Detroit has 10 days to release Valverde, trade him or send him to the Minors. Before Valverde could join the Minor League roster, he would have to clear waivers.
• At 45-31 (.592), the Red Sox own the AL's best record. They are two games in front of the Orioles in the AL East.
• Opponents are hitting .239 against Detroit pitching, the best mark in the AL.
• David Ortiz is the only Major League player with 15 homers in each of the last 13 seasons.
• No AL pitcher has gone 11-0 to start a season since Roger Clemens, who won 11 of his first 12 starts in 1997.
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Michael Periatt. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.