Game 89 Preview: White Sox at Tigers

USA TODAY Sports

It has been 299 days since the Tigers and White Sox have played against each other. Jose Quintana and Justin Verlander are the starting pitchers.

Chicago White Sox (34-52) at Detroit Tigers (49-39)

Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation blog: South Side Sox

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

Pitching Matchup: LHP Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.69 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (9-5, 3.54 ERA)

Pitcher GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP FIP SIERA fWAR
Quintana 17 100.0 7.02 2.70 0.99 1.20 3.87 4.08 2.0
Verlander 18 112.0 9.56 3.29 0.64 1.36 3.03 3.52 3.0

Quintana has been a solid mid-rotation starter for the White Sox this season, allowing a 3.38 ERA since getting lit up by the Seattle Mariners for six runs (five earned) in four innings in his first start of the season. He has not allowed more than four runs in a start since then. His ERA got a solid boost from his last outing, when he threw seven shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles. He struck out 11 hitters while walking just one, throwing a fairly efficient 112 pitches.

Overall, Quintana's numbers are very similar to his rookie season in 2012, but with a couple improvements. He has struck out more batters without increasing his walk rate. He has lowered his line drive rate by nearly 4%, which may be a reason his BABIP has decreased from .299 in 2012 to .265 in 2013. He is generating more fly balls and pop ups than last season, but his home run rate has not increased significantly.

One reason for these improvements are his numbers against right-handed hitters. In 2012, righties hit .284/.349/.426 off him. In 2013, they are hitting just .224/.287/.374. I'm hesitant to say that it's because his changeup has been better, because it's still pretty bad. Last season, his changeup was a whopping 4.60 runs below average per 100 pitches. This year, it's still 1.76 runs below average per 100 pitches. He is throwing the changeup slightly more often to righties, but they are still getting around on it for a .333 batting average.

Like 2011, it seems that a trip to the Rogers Centre was able to cure what ailed Justin Verlander. While he still has been a very good pitcher -- All-Star worthy, even -- in 2013, his results weren't quite at the superhuman levels he has achieved over the past two years. His ERA and WHIP are both higher than we are used to seeing, in large part due to some shoddy fastball command. Opposing batters are hitting .304 off Verlander's fastball this year, and his walk rate is his highest since 2008.

Against the Blue Jays, however, we saw vintage Verlander. He was spotting his fastball for most of the game, which resulted in some ugly swings from Blue Jays hitters. When Jose Reyes popped out on a weak swing to begin the game, I had a good feeling about the outcome.

The command improved, and Verlander allowed just five baserunners in seven shutout innings. I still want my royalty check for finding those mechanical flaws, Tigers.

Things to know about the White Sox

Outlook

The Tigers have been 10 games over .500 on three separate occasions before tonight's game. They are 0-3 in each of those games. Verlander was directly responsible for one of those losses, allowing home runs to JJ Hardy and Adam Jones in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles back on June 18th. In that game, he was coming off an outing in which he had allowed five baserunners in seven shutout innings on the road. Deja vu or a shot at redemption? Given how much better he looked mechanically in his last start, I'd go with the latter.

Quintana has been playing with fire on the road this year, allowing a 1.336 WHIP and 111 tOPS+. However, he has stranded 76% of baserunners to keep his road ERA at a modest 3.55. That said, other than a start against the A's* -- and he gave up 10 hits in that outing -- he hasn't exactly faced a murderer's row of opponents on the road. He'll strand a decent number of runners tonight, but the Tigers will plate enough runs to back a seemingly resurgent Verlander.

*Quintana also faced the Indians on the road, but that was back in early April when they were one of the worst offensive teams in baseball.

Prediction

The Tigers go 11 games over .500 for the first time in 2013 tonight.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bless You Boys

You must be a member of Bless You Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bless You Boys. You should read them.

Join Bless You Boys

You must be a member of Bless You Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bless You Boys. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker