Game 26 Preview: White Sox at Tigers

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 24: Gavin Floyd #34 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the seventh inning at O.co Coliseum on April 24, 2012 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 2-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Chicago White Sox (12-14) at Detroit Tigers (13-12)

Time/Place: 4:00 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation Blog: South Side Sox

Media: FOX (map), Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Gavin Floyd (2-3, 3.13 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (1-3, 7.77 ERA)

In his start against the Tigers three weeks ago, Floyd shut down the Tigers in typical Gavin Floyd fashion. He pitched 6 shutout innings, giving up just three hits in the process. Since then, Floyd has pitched at least 6 innings in every start, including a tough luck loss against Oakland in which he gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings.

Floyd's last start may have been his most impressive of the season so far. In 6 2/3 innings, he held the Boston Red Sox to one run while striking out 9 hitters, snapping a 5-game losing streak. Floyd's tendency to dominate the Tigers is worrying. In 18 starts, he has pitched 6 innings of one-run (or less) ball a remarkable ten times.

Scherzer's best start of the season came against these same White Sox. He pitched 6 innings while striking out 11 hitters, but ultimately took the loss. Scherzer has given up at least 3 runs in each of his five starts this season, but seems to be getting fairly unlucky. Fangraphs has Scherzer's FIP at a less terrifying 4.32, with an xFIP at 4.45. These definitely aren't the kind of numbers that you want out of your #3 starter, but are tolerable for the 5th best starter in the rotation, which Scherzer has been this season.

Whalk-off whonder

Last night's walk-off win is the kind of victory that can light a spark under a struggling team. Alex Avila has been starting to hit, but Jhonny Peralta has really struggled as of late. The walk-off home run was his first of the season, and, judging by the post-game interviews, it seemed as if a weight was lifted off of Peralta's shoulders. Jhonny can be a streaky hitter, so don't be too surprised if he goes on a nice run in the next week or two. He has great career numbers against Gavin Floyd, so today is as good of a day as any to start a hitting streak.

Outlook

The White Sox have really struggled at Comerica Park in the last few seasons, and last night's game did nothing to chase those demons away. This will probably be another tightly played contest with good pitching from both sides (I have faith that blue eyed Scherzer will make a triumphant return) with the bullpens deciding the outcome. I was encouraged by Jose Valverde's strong showing last night, and Octavio Dotel gets a free pass because he has otherwise been spectacular this season. The White Sox, on the other hand, are really struggling and don't have a reliable closing option until next week, when Chris Sale will be available.

Prediction

The bottom half of the Tigers order starts to get in gear today, putting together a couple of runs late in the game.

Gameday Reading:

Tigers 5, White Sox 4: Bad news keeps coming - South Side Sox, Jim Margalus
Recap of last night's game from the other side of the dugout.

White Sox-Tigers: Two-run homer off Matt Thornton dooms Chicago White Sox in ninth inning - Chicago Tribune, Mark Gonzales
"The Sox wasted a superb effort from [Gordon] Beckham, who had an RBI double in the third and is 8-for-14 this month."

Video: Sox manager Ventura on 5-4 loss to Tigers - Chicago Tribune
When they said that Robin Ventura was a lot quieter than Ozzie Guillen, I didn't think that they meant it literally. Turn up your volume for this one.

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