Today marks the first of 19 scheduled meetings between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox, two classic AL Central rivals. Chicago isn’t expected to be a big player in the divisional race come August and September, but they’ve made some nice moves over the last 12 months that has them positioned as a reasonably competitive squad in the near future and a possibly very good one a few years down the road.
It is, of course, very, very early still, but the AL Central is bunched up pretty tightly in the standings as the separation between the first-place Tigers (9-6) and fifth-place Indians (8-10) only stands at 2.5 games (only the AL East at 2.0 games is tighter top-to-bottom). Chicago sits in fourth place at 9-10 (2.0 GB).
Detroit Tigers (9-6) vs. Chicago White Sox (9-10) — 7:08 P.M.
Comerica Park – Detroit, MI
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket (click for radio affiliates)
Weather: 70 degrees, cloudy, chance of rain
When We Last Met
The Tigers won the season series 12-7 over the White Sox in 2013, including a 2-1 series win in late September to close out the home portion of the regular season schedule. Detroit was unable to clinch the division crown at home that weekend thanks to the pesky Cleveland Indians, but they did pick up season wins 90 and 91, putting themselves on the cusp of a playoff clinch with six games to play.
Anibal Sanchez has pitched well for the Tigers this season when he’s been in the game, but high pitch counts have forced him from the game early in each of his three outings (4 IP, 5 IP, and 5 IP respectively). Last time out it was early wildness that elevated his pitch count total (he walked the first three batters of the game), but Sanchez settled in nicely and finished with eight strikeouts against just one more walk.
Left-handed pitch John Danks will make the start for the Southsiders. Danks’ ERA looks good at 3.32 through three starts (19 innings), but his FIP (4.13) and xFIP (4.85) suggest that maybe he can’t sustain that success given his to-date peripheral stats (e.g. 6.2 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, etc.). The Tigers have only played three games against left-handed starters, but as a team they sport a .340 OBP against lefty pitchers on the year (110 total PA).
The Tigers’ righty-heavy lineup should be able to do damage against left-handed pitching, with Alex Avila being the only hitter who will bat from the left side.
- Rajai Davis, LF (R)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (R)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (R)
- Victor Martinez, DH (S)
- Torii Hunter, RF (R)
- Austin Jackson, CF (R)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (R)
- Alex Avila, C (L)
- Andrew Romine, SS (S)
- Luke Putkonen – 15-day DL (elbow)
- Andy Dirks – 60-day DL (back)
- Jose Iglesias – 60-day DL (lower leg)
- Bruce Rondon – 60-day DL (elbow)
Tags: Detroit Tigers