The Detroit Tigers hope to receive stronger pitching performances on their six-game road trip than they did in their last series, a home set against the New York Yankees in which they were outscored 29-16 while losing two of three. Detroit gets the chance to recover when it visits the Chicago White Sox on Friday for the opener of a three-game series.
The Tigers, who have lost seven straight on the road, avoided being swept on Thursday as they outslugged New York 10-6 in a brawl-filled contest that featured three bench-clearing incidents and eight ejections. Jose Iglesias enters Friday swinging a red-hot bat as he went 7-for-10 a homer and five RBIs in the set against the Yankees. Detroit is five games ahead of Chicago, which resides in the basement in the American League Central despite having won four of its last six contests. The White Sox managed only five hits in Thursday’s 5-1 triumph over Minnesota, with Yolmer Sanchez recording two for the second time in three games.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (9-8, 3.96 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Miguel Gonzalez (7-10, 4.44)
Verlander has won four of his last five starts, including an outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in which he allowed one run and two hits while registering nine strikeouts over eight innings. The 34-year-old former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner has given up a total of three runs over 29 frames in the four victories but has won just one of his last nine turns on the road. Verlander is 20-13 with a 3.85 ERA in 41 career starts against Chicago, including a 1-0 record and 4.32 ERA in two outings this season.
Gonzalez has been superb over his last three outings, going 2-0 while allowing a total of two runs in 20 innings. The 33-year-old Mexican has given up fewer than two runs in five of his seven turns since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a month. Gonzalez is 3-6 with a 7.07 ERA in 12 career appearances (10 starts) against Detroit and 1-2 in three starts this year, yielding two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of a win at home while getting pounded for 13 runs and 24 hits over 12 frames in two road losses.
1. Tigers OF Justin Upton is four home runs away from matching the career high of 31 he set in 2011 with Arizona and tied last season.
2. Chicago 2B Yoan Moncada (shin) and CF Leury Garcia (back) both exited Thursday’s game and are day-to-day.
3. Detroit purchased the contract of RHP Zac Reininger from Triple-A Toledo and optioned LHP Chad Bell to the Mud Hens.
PREDICTION: Tigers 4, White Sox 3