After leaving Game 5 with a knee injury following a home-plate collision with Red Sox catcher David Ross, Avila was in the Tigers' lineup catching a do-or-die Game 6.
"He's ready to go," manager Jim Leyland said. "He feels pretty good. I don't think that will be any kind of a drawback. ... I think Alex is fine now. The one thing you don't want to happen is start the game and take him out in the second or third inning. That's one thing I try to guard against as a manager. If you can't go, that's fine; but if you can go, you want to be out for the entire game, if possible."
The Red Sox have held Miguel Cabrera to a .278 (5-for-18) average during the series with a heavy dose of fastballs, but he's back in the No. 2 spot in front of the struggling Prince Fielder. Fielder is 4-for-19 in the series with one extra-base hit. Leyland said there was no sense in trying to find the issues with Fielder's swing with such little time left in the season.
"Normally, you don't get guys straightened out with two games to go, or hopefully six or seven more games to go," Leyland said. "You can keep working at it, and you're always working on something. But to say that you can snap your fingers and everybody will break out of it, it doesn't work that way."
1. Torii Hunter, RF 2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B 3. Prince Fielder, 1B 4. Victor Martinez, DH 5. Jhonny Peralta, LF 6. Alex Avila, C 7. Omar Infante, 2B 8. Austin Jackson, CF 9. Jose Iglesias, SS
RED SOX Max Scherzer had the Red Sox swinging through air during his first start of the series, but there are still three Boston hitters who have had plenty of success against the AL Cy Young Award favorite.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5-for-15), Jacoby Ellsbury (5-for-11) and David Ortiz (7-for-17) have combined to hit five homers off Scherzer.
Manager John Farrell continues to show confidence in shortstop Stephen Drew, who is 3-for-32 with 10 strikeouts during the postseason, but has made key plays at short with consistent defense up the middle --- something Farrell doesn't want to lose.
"There's been a lot [of people] calling for Stephen's head, seemingly, but he's a very good player," Farrell said. "And in these games, defense is at a premium. And when a defensive play hasn't been made and you give a team an extra out, as good as these two teams are, you're likely going to pay for that."
If Drew does have a multihit game, watch out. He's come out of three equally gloomy slumps already this year and gone on rampages immediately afterward.
After hitting .154 in April, he started May by hitting .400 in his first eight games. He hit .370 with six extra-base hits in a seven-game stretch following a rough patch from June 8-19. And following an 11-game stretch from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3 in which he hit .229, he had a big game against the Tigers and went on to hit .292 with an .868 OPS over his final 19 games.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF 2. Shane Victorino, RF 3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B 4. David Ortiz, DH 5. Mike Napoli, 1B 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C 7. Jonny Gomes, LF 8. Stephen Drew, SS 9. Xander Bogaerts, 3B