Tigers & White Sox Start 4-Game Series In Chicago
By: Willie Bee
Monday, September 10, 2012
It's showdown time in the AL Central where just two games separate the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers as they begin a 4-game series on Monday.
Game 1 of the all-important set is a consensus pick 'em on the Don Best Pro Odds screen, a few of the outlets listing the visiting Tigers as very slight favorites. First pitch from US Cellular Field on the Windy City's South Side is at 8:10 p.m. (ET), and will be delivered by ChiSox rookie Jose Quintana. Rick Porcello takes the ball for the Tigers with the 9½-run total priced 20 cents to the 'under' at most shops.
A lot can still happen in the final 24 days of the regular season slate, but all signs point to only one squad from this division making it to the American League playoffs. Chicago owns the advantage in the AL Central by a couple of games but would be fifth in the wild-card ranks where Detroit sits presently, 4.5-games out of the second slot which belongs to the Baltimore Orioles.
Neither the White Sox nor the Tigers come into this series playing as if they want to continue on after the dust settles on Oct. 3. Jim Leyland's Motown Cats started their 10-game road trip this past weekend by getting broomed in Anaheim by the Angels, and have dropped five of their last six since sweeping the Pale Hose in Detroit a little more than a week ago.
Chicago, meanwhile, has been on a downward spiral since reaching a season-high 16-games over .500 on Aug. 26 (71-55). The White Sox just finished a 3-3 homestand against the Twins and Royals, and have suffered defeat in nine of their last 13.
The Tigers will be out to extend a 7-game win streak vs. the White Sox, six of those contests played at Comerica Park, and they appear to have the right pitcher on the mound to accomplish the task. Porcello brings a 9-11 overall record and 4.58 ERA into the match, but is a perfect 3-0 in as many starts against Chicago this season with a sparkling 1.23 ERA.
Two of Porcello's three wins came against Chicago ace Chris Sale with all three contests falling short of the game totals. The young right-hander entered this season 2-4 with a 6.91 ERA in seven career assignments vs. the White Sox.
Detroit's lineup will be getting its first ever look at Quintana who somehow managed to miss the Tigers the first five series meetings of the campaign. The Colombian southpaw is coming off a sound whipping last Tuesday when he couldn't get through the second inning with the Twins plating seven runs during his time on the hill.
That defeat was the fifth loss for Chicago in Quintana's last seven starts as his ERA has risen more than a run in that span. Detroit is 23-20 against lefties on the season.
The Tigers' 7-game run against the ChiSox gives them a 10-4 edge in the rivalry for 2012. All seven wins were by two runs or more for those bettors thinking about a run line play here. Chicago did take three of the first five played at The Cell, the 'under' also 3-2 in those tilts.
Chicago will be without slugger Adam Dunn for possibly the entire series as he works through a strained right oblique. The good news is Kevin Youkilis should return to the White Sox lineup after missing this past weekend to be with his wife who was delivering their baby. Chicago might also get pitcher Gavin Floyd (elbow) back from the DL at some point this week.
Weather should be fine for all four games this week before rain possibly moves into Chicago for the weekend. Monday night's first pitch should come under clear skies with temps in the upper-60s.