When the Red Sox and Tigers open the season this afternoon, all eyes will be on Detroit's reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander.

But across the diamond, the Red Sox won't be starting a slouch themselves.

Left-hander Jon Lester routinely finds himself in the preseason Cy Young discussion — he finished fourth in 2010 — and as the Sox embark on the 2012 season, there's no one they'd rather have on the mound.

"Well, from what I have seen in the past and what I'm looking forward to in the future, those are two of the best pitchers in our league, one from the right side and one from the left side," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I'm looking forward to a lot of quality pitches being thrown."