Henry Owens

Sunday's Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Henry Owens vs. Justin Verlander

August 09, 2015 - 3:28 am

Henry Owens will toe the rubber for the Red Sox on Sunday as he looks to build off his relatively successful major league debut against the Yankees last Tuesday. He'll go up against former AL MVP Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Owens' first career start offered a minor silver lining to the Red Sox' otherwise underwhelming 2015 campaign. He took to the mound in perhaps the most unfriendly confines possible for a big league pitcher at Yankee Stadium and came just an inning away from a quality start and potentially a victory. "I was anxious to be out here," Owens said. "Very excited. I was pleased with the opportunity, and I tried to seize it the best I could. I ran into a couple of tough innings, but hopefully there'€™s more to come." The left-hander went five frames, allowing five hits and three earned runs while punching out five. However, Owens' final line is deceiving as he left with a 2-1 lead intact. Robbie Ross came in to relieve him after he let the first two men reach base in the sixth inning and promptly gave up two hits and the lead. The Sox bullpen never recovered, allowing 10 more runs en route to a 13-3 loss. Despite the outcome, Red Sox manager John Farrell is optimistic that Owens can continue to master his pitches and perform at the highest level. "You can talk all you want, but what he'€™s going to experience for the first time on this stage, you just hope he'€™s out there controlling the environment and ultimately controlling the baseball," Farrell said. Owens' opposition on Sunday has had plenty of trouble this year with his own command. Verlander, a perennial All-Star for nearly a decade from 2006 to 2013, has seen his career take a turn for the worse since last season. Over the last two years, the Old Dominion product has gone 16-16 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. After dealing with a triceps injury for the first two months of the season, Verlander's early June return came with pomp and circumstance but no results. The flamethrowing righty bore a 6.75 ERA through his first four starts this season. He has improved of late, though, as he now sports a 1-4 record and a 5.05 ERA. Over his last three outings, Verlander boasts a 2.74 ERA with 18 whiffs in 23 innings of work. He has worked into the seventh inning in all three starts, one of which came against the Red Sox on July 24 -- an eight-inning, seven-hit performance that resulted in a no-decision and an eventual 2-1 Boston victory. "I thought this was a much better pitched game [for] Justin, in terms of command of pitches, his approach to hitters," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after the game. "I thought he pitched very well. Emphasis on pitched." Fortunately for the Red Sox, they will get the chance to face Verlander at Comerica Park, the source of many of his problems in 2015. At home, he owns an 0-3 record and a 7.76 ERA. Red Sox vs. Verlander (RHP) Alejandro De Aza (37 plate appearances): .235 AVG/.297 OBP/.500 SLG, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 10 strikeouts David Ortiz (30): .370/.433/.741, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 4 RBIs Ryan Hanigan (6): .167/.167/.167 Hanley Ramirez (6): .400/.500/.400 Brock Holt (4): .250/.250/.250 Xander Bogaerts (3): .333/.333/.333 Josh Rutledge (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double Pablo Sandoval (3): .000/.000/.000 No other Red Sox have faced Verlander. Tigers vs. Owens (LHP) No Tigers have faced Owens.