The Chicago White Sox (20-25) come home for a set against the Detroit Tigers (22-24) at the Arrow. Here is our series preview. And be sure to check back for the latest preview on the afternoon of the first game of each series this season.
White Sox Preview
Let’s start with the good stuff, namely Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson. Abreu, in particular, is in beast mode, slashing out at .406/.424/.781 with three home runs, three doubles and six RBI over the past seven games. Over that same stretch, TA has a .933 OPS with two dingers and two doubles. Both are seeing the ball extremely well. Anderson is still not drawing many (any) walks, but his hard-hit percentage is spiking, which bodes well for the home-stand.
On the other side of the ledger is Avisail Garcia. Sure, he launched two bombs and had two doubles against the Seattle Mariners Saturday evening, but there is no mistaking the funk he’s in. Hit-less in four out his last five starts, Garcia has to stop swinging at pitches around his shoelaces and get back to barreling the baseball. If he doesn’t, the protection afforded to Abreu (certainly a part of Jose’s recent dominance) evaporates.
Over-matched in a stint with the White Sox last season, Danish posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.270 WHIP over eight starts prior to his promotion for the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, which has now been moved to Saturday due to more rain. A pedestrian 4.5 K/9 at Triple-A could prove problematic against a Tigers team with considerable power.
Pitching against his former team, Pelfrey had a nice outing against the Seattle Mariners last time out and has allowed a fine .280 OBP against in May. Home runs have been a problem this month, but he’s pitching much better than he did early on.
And can someone please tell Miguel Gonzalez to throw strikes. He is already a full walk per nine (3.3) over last season and, as a result, his K/9 (5.4) and H/9 (10.1) are going in the wrong direction. Simply, Gonzo needs to stop being pretty and throw the ball to the heart of the plate. He knows this, though, as The Athletics’ James Fegan wrote. Would be nice for him to deliver on the advice.
Losers of five of their last seven games, including three of four to the AL West leading Houston Astros, the Tigers come to Chicago with some work to do.
On offense, they need to find someone other than Alex Avila, J.D. Martinez or Miguel Cabrera willing to step up. Jose Iglesias is doing his best, but Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos are all struggling. Their offense isn’t built to have a guy like Avila carry the load.
Making offensive balance more imperative is the fact the Tigers have one of the worst pitching staffs in the American League. Sure, Alex Wilson (1.77 ERA, 0.934 WHIP), Michael Fulmer (2.55 ERA, 1.083 WHIP) and Shane Greene (1.19 ERA, 10.7 K/9) are having fine seasons, but the unit ranks 14th in the AL in ERA and 13th in home runs allowed. And their collective 1.439 WHIP is nothing to write home about.
Any way you look at it, the Tigers need to start playing better baseball. They are too mercurial to have any staying power in the AL Central, especially with the Minnesota Twins playing so well and the Cleveland Indians on the verge of getting Corey Kluber back. Taking three of four from the White Sox is a must.
Where to Watch and Listen
Friday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Saturday: Game 1 – 1:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago / Game 2 – TBD, CSN-Chicago
Sunday: 1:10 p.m., WGN
*All games on WLS-AM 890 and WRTO-AM 1200 (Sp.)
Friday: LHP Matthew Boyd (2-4, 5.36 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (1-4, 4.85 ERA)
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
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