(SportsNetwork.com) - Boston righty Rubby De La Rosa tries to follow up a terrific season debut on Friday when the Red Sox open a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
In his first start since 2011, De La Rosa dazzled on Saturday against Tampa Bay, as he scattered four hits and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings to pick up his first win in three years.
"He was outstanding," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "The biggest difference from a year ago to what we saw tonight was just an outstanding changeup. A number of swing and miss (pitches). Very good fastball. A lot of strikes. But the changeup was really the separator for him tonight."
De La Rosa will be trying to help Boston snap out of its latest funk, as it enters this series on the heels of getting swept in a three-game affair by the Cleveland Indians, culminating with a 7-4 loss in 12 innings on Wednesday. David Ortiz drilled a two-run homer and Brock Holt added two RBI for the Red Sox, who had won seven straight games before being swept by the Tribe.
"It's been uncharacteristic based on the last couple of years, and that's got some frustration there for us," Farrell said.
Detroit, meanwhile, has dropped five in a row after a 7-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. Ian Kinsler had a pair of RBI and Nick Castellanos collected three hits and scored a run for the Tigers, who have lost six of eight.
Justin Verlander (6-5) was tagged for six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits and four walks over seven innings of work to absorb his third loss in his last four starts.
"When things are going well, you think you're never going to lose. When things are going bad, you feel like you're never going to win," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "You have to keep the big picture in mind. You take a snapshot of the last few weeks for them, and it's a perfect example."
Getting the call for the Tigers on Friday will lefty Drew Smyly, who is 2-4 with a 4.10 ERA. Smyly lost his second straight start on Saturday in Seattle, as the Mariners reached him for three runs and seven hits in four innings.
Smyly had given up four home runs in a loss his previous time out and hasn't won since May 3.
"Every time he'd get ahead, it just seemed like they'd work their way back into 3-2 counts," Ausmus said. "He had to throw a bunch of pitches early. After a hundred pitches, it was time to get him out."
Smyly is 1-0 in three games (1 start) against the Red Sox with a 3.38 ERA.
The Tigers swept the Red Sox in a three-game set at Fenway Park earlier this season.