The Chicago White Sox have a chance to climb out of the cellar in the American League Central with a good showing in a four-game series at the Detroit Tigers, which begins with a matinee affair Thursday. The White Sox have won four of their last five after a 5-3 win at Kansas City on Wednesday and they enter this series trailing the fourth-place Tigers by two games.
Chicago, which leads the season series with Detroit by an 8-7 margin, has held down last place every day since July 8. Jose Abreu had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning for the White Sox on Wednesday, his ninth RBI in the last five games. The Tigers waved the white flag several weeks ago with a series of trades and have continued their free-fall with five straight losses, the last three of which came at the hands of the red-hot Cleveland Indians. Veteran James Shields gets the nod in the opener for Chicago opposite 28-year-old rookie Chad Bell for Detroit.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH James Shields (3-6, 5.40 ERA) vs. Tigers LH Chad Bell (0-2, 5.79)
Shields snapped an 11-game winless streak with seven stellar innings in a victory over San Francisco on Saturday. He limited the Giants to a run and two hits to record his fourth quality start over a span of seven outings, all after producing just two through his first 11 appearances. The 35-year-old yielded a run and two hits across 5 1/3 innings against Detroit to begin the season and he is 8-8 with a 4.37 ERA lifetime versus the Tigers.
Bell made 19 relief appearances for Detroit before joining the rotation this month. He gave up five runs over four innings of his first career start before improving a bit at Toronto his last time out, allowing two runs in 4 2/3 frames. The Tennessee native has a 6.28 ERA in 10 games (one start) at home.
1. Abreu is batting .377 with three home runs against the Tigers this year.
2. Detroit has scored nine runs during its five-game slide.
3. White Sox SS Tim Anderson is 11-for-23 with four stolen bases during a five-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: White Sox 6, Tigers 4