(Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers have owned the Chicago White Sox this
season, but are still looking up at them in the American League Central.
With perhaps a sense of urgency surrounding the ballclub, the Tigers get one
last shot to handle their business against the White Sox in Monday's opener
of a four-game series from U.S. Cellular Field.
Detroit has won seven in a row and 10-of-14 meetings with Chicago this season,
and it's the last time both ballclubs will square off. Chicago is 4-16 over
the last 20 games in this set and has been swept in four of the last seven
series between the AL Central foes.
"You've got to play these games like they are the last game you are going to
play, which is the way it is," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said on the team's
website. "If you've got to pump guys up for these games, then I've got a
problem. You are getting to a sense of urgency, which is certainly different
than a sense of panic."
The Tigers are just two games behind the White Sox in the division standings
and 4 1/2 games off one of the final two wild card berths. They haven't played
their best ball recently, save a sweep of Chicago from July 31-Aug. 2, and
were swept in three games by the LA Angels of Anaheim over the weekend.
Alberto Callaspo's two-run homer in the second inning was the difference and
Mike Trout led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot to lift the
Angels, who produced seven hits in the seven innings Anibal Sanchez was on the
mound. Sanchez struck out six and did not walk a batter, but the home runs
were crucial in his losing decision.
"I thought that was the best Sanchez had been," Leyland said. "I thought he
threw the ball better today than I've seen him throw it ever since he's been
here. But it was the same old story. We had a couple little shots there, but
we just couldn't get the big hit. That pretty much sums it up."
Andy Dirks homered and Brennan Boesch drove in a run for the Tigers, who have
lost six straight away from Comerica Park and eight of 12 overall. Detroit
sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder combined to go 0-for-6. The Tigers
will also visit Cleveland on their 10-game road swing (0-3).
Rick Porcello has a tough task ahead of him and will take the mound for
Leyland's club tonight. He has lost five straight starts and last toed the
rubber in a 3-2 setback versus the Indians on Tuesday, as he gave up all three
runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Porcello's record dipped to 9-11 in 27
starts and his earned run average is now 4.58 over 157 1/3 innings.
The right-hander defeated the White Sox back on July 21, when he fired eight
innings of one-rum ball in 7-1 decision. Porcello has faced Chicago 10 times
in his career -- all starts -- and sports a 5-4 mark with a 4.95 ERA.
Chicago hasn't played consistently lately either, losing two of three versus
Kansas City over the weekend and nine of 13 overall.
The White Sox dropped a 2-1 decision in 10 innings on Sunday, as Mike
Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur both had RBI singles in the top of the 10th
inning to put KC ahead for good. Gordon Beckham had an RBI double in the
bottom half for Chicago, which is 3-3 on a 10-game homestand.
Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski ended with two hits apiece, while starting
pitcher Hector Santiago struck out eight over four scoreless innings. Brett
Myers was dealt the loss after giving up both runs in the 10th.
"Hector did a great job," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Offensively
we didn't help him at all."
Chicago hopes heavy-hitting outfielder Adam Dunn can shake a balky oblique
muscle in time to play Monday after missing the entire weekend series. Dunn
leads the White Sox with 38 homers and 88 RBI.
"It's just swinging," Dunn said on the club's website. "And that's part that I
kind of need to do."
The Pale Hose still are 10-3 in their last 13 games in the Windy City and have
won nine of the past 11 series at home. Chicago has hit 28 homers in its last
15 home games.
Rookie Jose Quintana gets the nod for the White Sox tonight and has never
faced the Tigers. Quintana is 5-4 with a 3.68 earned run average in 20 games,
18 of which have been starts, this season and is winless in his last four
trips to the mound (0-2). He was banged around for seven runs in only 1 1/3
innings of an 18-9 loss to Minnesota last Tuesday.
The left-hander has allowed 15 runs in his last three appearances and is 2-3
in nine home games (8 starts).
The Sports Network