It’s a late July matchup that many thought would have little meaning a few months ago. Now, the Detroit Tigers will host the Chicago White Sox as they try to catch them atop the American League central division. The White Sox will enter the series with a game and a half lead over the Tigers and the winner of the series will walk about with a hold on the division lead.
On Friday, the marquee matchup of the series will feature White Sox starter Jake Peavy (7-6) taking on last year’s Cy Young award winner and starter of this year’s All-Star game Justin Verlander(10-5). The White Sox look to rebound after losing Thursday night in Boston on a Cody Ross three-run walk-off homerun off closer Addison Reed.
On Saturday, the mid-afternoon matchup will see Chris Sale (11-2) take the bump for the White Sox as he opposes Rick Porcello (6-5) of the Tigers. Sale has been just about dominant in every start this season, but as the innings increase on his overall season workload, it will be interesting to see how his ERA corresponds.
On Sunday, the White Sox send out Phillip Humber (4-4) against the Tigers Jacob Turner (0-1). Humber will be pitching just his second start since returning from the disabled list, hoping to parlay his success from his previous outing.
The Tigers are 5-2 since the All-Star break and continue to gain ground in the AL Central on the White Sox. Both managers agreed that this series would not make or break the season, but both know that it is an important step in going forward in the 2012 season.
Both teams seem to have the pitching matchups they would like, as both teams have their top two pitchers going, including Peavy and Sale for the White Sox.
Not many saw the White Sox being eight games above .500 at this point in the season, but expectations have been thrown out the window and this series begins the start of what is surely to be the most focus on the ball club that manager Robin Ventura has seen.
The White Sox are expecting third baseman Kevin Youkilis to return to the lineup on Friday after sitting out Thursday with a tight left hamstring.