In his 4 starts against the White Sox last year, Max allowed a minuscule .221/.270/.308 batting line. But over 3 of those starts the Tigers managed a total of 4 runs. Today Scherzer permitted only 5 fair balls and no runs through 4 innings. But the Tigers did not score either. Last year Max allowed the most homeruns on the road among AL pitchers and an ugly breaking ball to Viciedo put Chicago up 1-0 in the 5th. Scherzer gives up more baserunners the 3rd time through the order (.356 OBP allowed last year) and 2 hits and a walk to the only 6 he faced for a 3rd time today gave the Sox a 3-0 lead. Today's 11 strikeouts matched his second highest total as a Tiger. Before today's loss, Max was 5-0 for Detroit when he strikes out 9 or more.
Peavy struggled mightily with runners in scoring position last year by allowing .368/.404/.579 but was an outstanding .216/.246/.297 with the bases empty. Today he was so good with the bases empty that the Tigers did not see a RISP PA in his 6.2 IP. Delmon golfed a 2-run HR down the line on Peavy's last pitch to give Detroit hope at 3-2. The Tigers had big chances to take the lead in the 7th and 8th but great defensive plays by the White Sox ended both innings with 2 runners on. Chicago had ranked ahead of only the Twins and Orioles in defensive efficiency in 2011. On the subject of defense, the White Sox added 2 runs in the 9th after Delmon, apparently working on a circus clown impersonation, played a leadoff flyball into a triple. I applaud Leyland for enhancing the competive balance in the AL Central by using Delmon in LF while the vastly superior defender Dirks plays DH.