Series Preview 39: Tigers at White Sox

The White Sox wrap up their ten game homestand with a three game set with division leader Detroit, who is wrapping up a ten game road trip.  The Sox are 4-3 on the homestand after dropping 3 of 4 to the Twins over the weekend. The Tigers saw their long winning streak come to an end in New York and lost two of three to the Yankees. Detroit has won 7 of the 10 meetings this year between the two clubs including a sweep in Detroit a little over a week ago.

Pitching Matchups

The series gets under way on Monday night with Doug Fister (10-5, 3.50 ERA) taking on Chris Sale (7-11, 2.77 ERA).

Fister has been a dominant second half performer since joining the Tigers during the 2011 season and this year appears no different.  He has won his last four decisions and over his last five starts has a 1.59 ERA.

One of those outings was against the Sox when he tossed 8 innings allowing 1 run on 7 hits with 2 K’s and no walks.  He got the win in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel with Hector Santiago.  That was the only time the Sox have seen Fister this season.  Alexei Ramirez (.316, 2 doubles) and Adam Dunn (6-for-10, double) have had some success against Fister in the past.

Chris Sale finally got back in the win column last time out by beating the Yankees.  He went 7.1 innings and allowed 1 unearned run on 5 hits with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts.  He didn’t have his best stuff but he battled and the Sox were able to scratch 3 runs across and get him his first win since mid-June.

This will be the third start against Detroit this season for Sale.  In his first two games he was 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA with 19 K’s in 14.2 innings.  He did allowed 3 home runs and the Tigers hit .293 against him.  He actually pitched better in the game that he lost than he did in the win.  Sale now has a 4-4 record with a 2.07 ERA at home this year and opposing batters are hitting just .187 against him at US Cellular Field.  Victor Martinez (7-for-12) and Torii Hunter (4-for-8, HR) have given Sale issues this year.

Tuesday night’s game will see Max Scherzer (17-1, 2.84 ERA) taking on Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.43 ERA).

Scherzer has continued his dominant season and is the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2001 to start a season 17-1.  He has won his first four starts following the All Star Game, including two starts against the White Sox.  He is 4-0 over that stretch with a 1.26 ERA, a .125 opponent’s batting average and a 5.75 K/BB ratio.  Scherzer leads the American League in WHIP and allows the fewest hits per 9 innings.

Against the Sox this year Max is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA and a 0.638 WHIP.  Adam Dunn (.296, 2 HRs) and Dayan Viciedo (.294, 2 HRs) have the best lifetime numbers against Scherzer.

Hector Santiago will also be looking to end a long winless drought.  He hasn’t won a game since June 21st and in the 8 starts since then is 0-2 with 6 no decisions.  Unfortunately both of those losses came at the hands of the Detroit Tigers.  Hector was roughed up in his first outing against Detroit allowing 6 runs (3 ER) on 5 hits over 6 innings.  He issued 5 walks in that start that led to his undoing.

The next time out against Detroit Santiago was very good allowing 2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings with 1 walk and 7 strikeouts.  The Sox could only manage one run against Doug Fister and Hector took the loss.  Santiago’s last start against the Yankees was not one of his better ones so he will be looking to improve on that.  Prince Fielder (4-for-9) and Andy Dirks (2-for-3, HR) have had success against Hector.

The series and homestand finale will be Wednesday afternoon when Rick Porcello (8-6, 4.32 ERA) faces off with John Danks (2-9, 4.52 ERA). 

Porcello continues to pitch pretty well since the start of July.  He is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last 6 starts and has lowered his ERA by almost a full run over that time.  He also continues to dominate the White Sox.  In three starts this year against the South Siders Porcello is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA and has held the Sox hitters to a .257 batting average.  The Sox have scored 4 runs against Porcello in just under 21 innings. 

Danks has not won a game since July 2nd and has been pretty up and down the last few weeks.  The 2.90 runs of support he receives per start probably aren’t helping either.

Danks went 6 innings in game 1 of the double header on Friday and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits with 9 strikeouts but walked 5 batters, both were season highs.  Danks had not had any problems with walks until recently and at the rate he has been giving up home runs this year (2.0/9 innings) he cannot afford to be issuing free passes.  Against Detroit this year Danks is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA and has served up 6 gopher balls in 14 innings of work.  Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson all have 3 career home runs against Danks.

Series Notes

Trading Partners: With the departure of Alex Rios the White Sox will likely be giving Avisail Garcia regular playing time in the outfield for the remainder of the season.  Garcia will get a shot this week to show what he can do against his former teammates, who all spoke very highly of him after news broke that he was traded to Chicago.  In his brief Sox career Garcia is 2-for-9 with 4 strikeouts but in 8 games with AAA Charlotte he hit .370/.469/.556 with an even 1:1 K/BB ratio. 

Tigers Pitchers: The Tiger pitching staff has been pretty incredible all season long.  They lead the AL in ERA at 3.54 and in strikeouts with 8.7 per 9 innings.  They have also allowed the fewest home runs the third fewest hits and the second fewest walks.  Four of their five starting pitchers have already reached double digit wins.  The Tigers have been getting it done on both sides of the ball but their pitching has really carried them all year.

Adam Dunn: In the last 53 games Adam Dunn is hitting .302 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI.  He has an OBP of .411 with a .960 OPS over that stretch.  While he got off to an atrocious start this year Dunn has really picked it up the last few months and has proven that he can still be one of the more dangerous hitters in the league.  It will be interesting to see if he keeps this up over the rest of the season if that makes him likely trade bait in the off season.