The team with the worst record in the American League will take on a team that hasn’t had a losing record this late in the season since 2010, when the Boston Red Sox play the Detroit Tigers on Sunday Night Baseball.
The Red Sox (43-55, an AL-worst .439) made a handful of offseason moves that were expected to boost their offense (signing Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval) and their pitching (trading for Rick Porcello).
Seemingly every move the Red Sox made has failed to deliver, as this column by Buster Olney points out.
Rodriguez cools off after hot start
One trade from 2014, when the Red Sox acquired Rodriguez from the Orioles, seemed to have paid off through his first three starts.
He became the first pitcher (since earned runs became official in 1912) to begin his career with three starts of at least six innings with seven strikeouts and one or zero earned runs allowed.
Rodriguez pitched better than Roger Clemens did in his first three career starts (Clemens allowed 13 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings) and was reminiscent of Pedro Martinez in his first three starts with the Red Sox in 1998 (Martinez allowed one earned run and had 32 strikeouts in 23 innings).
In Rodriguez’s seven starts since then, however, he has a 7.22 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60.
Starting pitching beyond Price hurts Tigers
The Tigers (48-49) haven’t been under .500 this late in the season since Oct. 7, 2010, when they were 80-81.
Miguel Cabrera hasn’t played since July 3, but a season-long problem has been the Tigers’ ineffective starting pitching beyond David Price.
Price (9-3) has a 2.31 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP; all other Tigers starters are 26-32, with a combined 5.14 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
Greene has a 6.52 ERA. That is the worst in baseball among 111 pitchers who have made at least 15 starts this season.
Losing is costly
Both teams have big payrolls with huge commitments over the next three seasons.
The Red Sox have a payroll of $180 million this season -- third-highest in the majors -- and the Tigers are fifth at $173 million. Looking at the next three seasons, the Red Sox rank third ($312.4 million in commitments) and the Tigers fourth ($311.6 million).
The four highest-paid players on the Red Sox -- Ramirez, Sandoval, Mike Napoli and David Ortiz -- will earn a combined $69.4 million in 2015, and they have a combined 0.3 wins above replacement this season.