After a seven game west coast road trip the (9-10) Detroit Tigers return home to Comeric..."/> After a seven game west coast road trip the (9-10) Detroit Tigers return home to Comeric..."/>

Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs Chicago White Sox

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After a seven game west coast road trip the (9-10) Detroit Tigers return home to Comerica Park where they face the division rival (8-11) Chicago White Sox for the first time this season. The Tigers finished their west coast road trip 4-3 and the White Sox are just 2-8 their last ten games.

Regardless of what the calendar says this is a big series. Division games are important and Detroit needs to take care of business in that department early this season.

SERIES PITCHING PREVIEW:

FRIDAY, April 22, 7:05 EST, Comerica Park

Mark Buehrle, LHP

Stats

1-1, 4.50 ERA

Career stats
VS

Justin Verlander, RHP

Stats

1-2, 3.14 ERA

Career stats

Saturday, April 23, 4:10 EST, Comerica Park

Edwin Jackson, RHP

Stats

2-1, 3.51 ERA

Career stats
VS

Brad Penny, RHP

Stats

0-2, 8.44 ERA
Career stats

Sunday, April 24, 1:05 EST, Comerica Park

John Danks, LHP

Stats

0-2, 3.00 ERA

VS

Max Scherzer, RHP

Stats

3-0, 4.30 ERA

Career stats

INJURY UPDATE:

Detroit

Chicago

WHO’S HOT:

Detroit:

  • Miguel Cabrera was 5-10 last series against Seattle. Miggy is now batting .333 with 5 homers and 14 RBI this season. Is anyone really surprised?
  • Brennan Boesch also enjoyed the visit to the Emerald City–Boesch was 6-10. Brennan is now batting .333 with 6 doubles, 1 homer and 11 RBI this season.

Chicago:

Sergio Santos has 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.

Carlos Quentin is off to a hot start this season, hitting .309 with 4 homers, 10 doubles and 12 RBI in 68 at-bats.

WHO’S COLD:

Detroit:

  • Magglio Ordonez is batting just .182 this season and is just 1-12 since April 10th. I know that he hasn’t been 100% healthy but with V-Mart on the DL Maggs really needs to step it up!
  • Austin Jackson is just 2-28 since April 13th and he’s currently batting .157 this season. He has already racked up 24 strikeouts–which would be awesome if he was a pitcher. As great as his glove is, the Tigers cannot afford that lack of production in the lineup.
  • Will Rhymes bats after Austin Jackson and is currently batting a robust .208 this season.Notice a pattern here? The table setters need to do a better job for Miguel Cabrera. Miggy can’t do it all by himself!
  • Brad Penny takes the ball this series for his fifth start this season. His ice cold 8.44 ERA and 1.69 WHIP are not the numbers I was hoping for this season. The opposition is hitting .289 against him and he has issued 12 free passes so far this season. Brad needs to log a quality start this time out.

Chicago:

  • Gordon Beckham is just 2-23 in his last six games. He’s batting .222 on the season.
  • Adam Dunn is just 4-31 since returning to action on April 12th. He’s batting just .178 this season and he’s struck out 19 times.
  • Chris Sale, Matt Thornton and Will Ohman have all struggled in the late innings this season. Hopefully that trend continues for at least three more days.

SERIES SIX PACK WITH SouthSideShowdown.com

JAYRC: Sergio Santos is a reliever of yours that I have been keeping a close eye on. Chris Sale and Matt Thornton have been struggling a bit out of the gate. How long do you think before Santos is considered for the closer role?

TRAVIS MILLER: Coming into spring training, Ozzie Guillen and the coaching staff were looking for Santos to work on his control. Santos? On Feb. 17 when pitchers and catchers showed up, he told reporters his eye was on the closer role (if it was available). The kid is determined and he’s been mowing hitters down all month, unlike everyone else in the bullpen. He’ll get his opportunities this season. Jesse Crain may get a few shots before Santos does, as the veteran righty, but I expect the kid to contend for 9th inning duties. Still, I don’t expect Guillen to commit to a permanent closer until the August or September, given what has happened in the first couple weeks.

JAYRC: Jake Peavy continues to be hindered with injuries. How concerned are you and do you believe that Peavy will stay healthy enough to contribute this season?

TM- It’s a great concern at this point. Up through the middle of March, everyone around the organization felt Peavy was ahead of schedule, and even had a shot at breaking camp with the team. The unfortunate aspect of the whole situation is that no surgery like this had been done before, so any timetables that were given were pure speculation. I don’t think it will take until July (one year, the original timetable) for Peavy to get back on the field, but you can’t help but wonder if he really will be the San Diego Peavy when he returns. The guy is a pure competitor and he wants the ball in his hand, which can be a blessing when he’s healthy, but a giant road block when he’s trying to get back on the field. He clearly jumped the gun in his rehabilitation and the team is paying for it now. He’ll be able to contribute, but at what level? Your guess is as good as mine.

JAYRC: How concerned are you with your sluggish start? What do you feel is the key for Chicago to get back on track?

TM- Given the 24-33 start last year — with an inferior team, mind you — I’m not at all concerned about the slow start. Guillen had his key players playing more in spring training in order to have them more seasoned when April rolled around, and it worked for the first few games, but early-season slumps have shocked the the organization. The starting pitching has been doing its job, and the whole offense won’t slump at the same time for extended periods very often, so this is just an abnormality that will soon be worked out. The key to getting back on track is just getting guys to stop pressing. Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin are the keys to the offense. If they can calm down and just play within themselves, the team will be very well off.

TRAVIS MILLER: The prolonged slumps of Carlos Quentin, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn appear to be dissipating. How will the Tigers pitching staff keep the Sox offense at bay if those bats heat up?

JAYRC: The White Sox traditionally play Detroit tough, so I expect the members of your three headed monster to bring their A-Game. All three are very talented and can change a game with one swing of the bat. The key to limiting their damage is to take care of the table setters. Naturally, If Detroit can stay away from facing guys like Konerko, Dunn and Quentin with runners aboard they will have a much greater shot at limiting the damage.

TM – Can the Detroit bullpen carry the load if Brad Penny or Max Scherzer can’t go deep into their starts?

JAYRC: Scherzer does have a history of running up his pitch count fast often resulting in an early exit. However, even last start in Seattle he managed to at least log five innings and put us in a position to win.

On the other hand, Brad Penny has been pretty inconsistent. Just when you think he has turned a corner the carousel starts up and Detroit finds themselves in trouble.

The bullpen doesn’t worry me that much though this season. Perry has just returned from the DL and Schlereth, Benoit and Valverde have been nearly untouchable. Outside of one bad outing even Brayan Villarreal has been impressive.

TM – With Victor Martinez out, is there enough protection in the Tigers lineup to make the White Sox pitch to Miguel Cabrera?

JAYRC: Nope, it is beyond me why teams still pitch to Miggy. On Wednesday with a base open Seattle chose to pitch to Cabrera and he drove in a run. Detroit went on to win that game by one run–I’m just sayin’. With Ordoñez off to a cool start, hobbled by the pesky injury and V-Mart on the DL the lineup is pretty pedestrian. A lot of pressure will now be placed on guys like Boesch and Raburn to produce. Even though V-Mart wasn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball, his presence will be missed.

I’d like to thank Travis at SouthSideShowdown.com for sharing a six pack with me…

SERIES PREDICTION:

I hope I’m wrong, but the only game that I feel confident in is game one. I believe that JV will keep us close enough to win and I am confident that Benoit and Valverde can close it out. Beyond that, I see Edwin Jackson showing us how much he loves to destroy his former teams. As I shake my crystal ball I see Brad Penny continuing to do his best Brad Thomas impersonation. I also believe that Max Scherzer is due for his first loss of the season. Hopefully I am wrong and the Tigers win the series however I see Detroit winning just one game against the Wrong Sox  White Sox.

*Injury Updates and Pitching Preview information obtained from MLB.COM

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