The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers open up three-game divisional series Friday night at Comerica Park
Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers
Chicago has dropped five of its last six games and has had little success against divisional opponents this year. The White Sox are 2-5 during their stretch of 19 consecutive games against AL Central opponents, while posting an 8-16 record versus such foes thus far. “We haven’t played up to our potential,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. “We don’t execute up to the way we should.” In Guillen’s previous seven years, the club has posted a winning percentage of .556 before the All-Star break and a .487 mark afterwards. The World Series championship team of 2006 posted a disappointing 33-41 record in the second half. Chicago is 2-6 in its last eight games following an off day.
White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd is searching for his first win since June 1, coming in with a 6-9 overall record and 4.59 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts). The right-hander is coming off one of his worst efforts of the year, dropping an 8-5 home contest to the Twins, allowing seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Floyd will be looking to even up his road record, posting a 4-5 record and 3.60 ERA in 11 road efforts. In 14 career starts versus the Tigers, he possesses a 5-1 mark and 3.51 ERA, including a 3-1 record and 4.10 ERA in seven starts at Comerica Park.
Detroit sits atop the division and will aim to have a much better close to the season than last year’s 33-43 mark in the second half. “We’ve got a good team,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland stated. “We’re right in it. We’ll see what happens.” The club sent four players to the desert for the Midsummer Classic and has posted a dominating 17-8 record versus divisional opponents, which includes a 5-1 mark versus tonight’s foe. Offensively, the team is loaded with talent up and down the lineup, sitting fifth in the majors with a .264 batting average. Detroit is 29-11 in its last 40 home games versus losing teams.
Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander is a leading Cy Young-candidate and is aiming for his 13th win of the year. The right-hander has proven victorious in eight of his last nine decisions, including a 2-1 road win over the Royals last time out. He allowed just a single run (zero earned) and six hits in 7 2/3 innings in that start leading into the All-Star break. Verlander has garnered an excellent 7-2 record and 2.20 ERA in 11 home outings, as opponents are hitting just .191 against him. In 21 career appearances versus the White Sox, the All-Star has tallied an even 9-9 record and 4.39 ERA.
Bettors will likely back the Tigers due to their 40-13 record in Verlander’s last 53 home starts, while the White Sox are 5-16 in Floyd’s last 21 outings versus the AL Central