Game 143 Preview: Tigers at White Sox

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 08: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning on September 8, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Detroit Tigers (75-67) at Chicago White Sox (76-66)

Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., U.S. Cellular Field

SB Nation Blog: South Side Sox

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (13-8, 2.91 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Sale (16-6, 2.88 ERA)

The Tigers are responsible for half of Sale's losses this season, beating him in each of his three starts against Detroit. He isn't helping himself very much, having issued 10 of his 44 total walks this season to Tigers hitters. Sale has continued to be excellent against the rest of the AL though, dominating the Kansas City Royals for 6 innings in his last start. Whichever Sale decides to show up today -- the wild, inconsistent starter that the Tigers have battered or the strike-throwing machine who has terrorized the rest of the AL -- will go a long way in determining who wins this game.

Verlander is essentially the opposite pitcher of Sale at this point in the season: he dominated the White Sox in his last start -- and is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA against them this season -- but is getting tattooed by the rest of the AL. Verlander has allowed 14 earned runs in his last two starts not involving the Sox, or roughly 18% of the runs that he has allowed all season. If JV can shake off his recent poor outings -- and more importantly, control his emotions -- then the Tigers have a great shot at taking 3 of 4 this week.

Outlook

Wow, what a difference a couple of games can make. The Tigers have a chance to essentially hit the reset button on the season with a win today. They haven't met the sky-high expectations that the fanbase had at the start of the season, but a division championship is still well within their grasp. A loss today isn't the end of the season by any means, but a win would be huge. With Verlander on the mound, you have to like their chances. I sure do.

Prediction

The MVP shows why he was so valuable last season with another excellent performance, leading the Tigers back into a tie for the AL Central lead.

Gameday Reading:

Tigers 8, White Sox 6: Unproven pitchers earn no credit - South Side Sox, Jim Margalus
"Based on the pitchers Robin Ventura used against the biggest part of the order, he didn't think the White Sox had much of a chance of coming back from a 3-1 deficit."

After Miraculous Uprising, Team Finds Itself Only One Game Behind Division Leading Sox - Walkoff Woodward, Alexandra Simon
"The Tigers held on, though, and trimmed the White Sox’ shrinking lead to only one game."

Ventura stands by Sox's beleaguered bullpen - Chicago Tribune, Mark Gonzales
Hey, I won't complain as long as Ventura continues to run them out there today.

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