Forget Thursday nights on NBC. Tonight is for real must see television. Two teams battling for top spot in their division. Staff aces dueling against each other. It could be a spectacular pitching match up. Or, it could turn out to be quite the slug fest at the plate. In any event, this game is a must win for the Sox. If they lose, there will be a tie for first place in the AL Central. Win and there is still a tiny bit of breathing room.
Tonight, Robin is sending out the following guys to make sure the proper outcome occurs:
Alejandro De Aza CF, Youk 3B, Dewayne Wise LF, The King 1B, Alex Rios RF, AJ Pierzynski C, The Cuban Missile SS, Tyler Flowers C, O-Dog 2B.
Chris Sale will start for the Sox. He is hoping to rebound from his shortest outing of the season when he last pitched. In that game, Chris just didn’t have it and lasted only four innings. Given how he didn’t have it that night, it was a wise move by RV to take Chris out of the game to preserve innings he will need later in the season. In that game, Chris did give up four runs on six hits. The Sox would go on to lose that game as Chris Tillman was just the better man that night.
On the road this season, Sale has been pretty good. He is 7-3 on the road with a 3.86 ERA. This despite having gone 3-3 in his last seven road starts with a 5.24 ERA. Against the Dirty Beast, SAle is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA in two starts (12 total appearances.) At Comerica, he is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in four appearances (one start.) Hopefully, Chris is well rested after his appearance at Detroit.
And to continue making life miserable for the White Sox, Jim Leyland is sending out the following guys:
Austin Jackson CF, Omar Infante 2B, Miguel Cabrera 3B, Prince Fielder 1B, Delmon Young LF, Jhonny Peralta SS, Avisail Garcia RF, Brennan Boesch DH, Gerald Laird C.
Justin Verlander (is he still hanging out with Kate?) will start for the Tigers. His last start against the Royals last week was what some would say incomprehensible for him. He gave up eight runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings against the Royals. Nice to know the Royals can beat up on someone like Justin.
Early in his career, Justin could not handle the White Sox. He was regularly beat up by them. Lately however, he has had their number. In his career, he is 13-10 with a 4.05 ERA against the Sox. I’m pretty sure all Sox fans would love to see Justin have yet another stink game or even him going back to his days of being unable to take care of the Sox tonight.
*Notes: Alex Rios is the only player in MLB this season with at least 20 home runs, 30 doubles and 20 stolen bases. Detroit is the only team in MLB this season without a grand slam.