Jose Contreras (4-8, 4.75) vs. Justin Verlander (10-5, 3.34), 1:05 p.m. EST
A weekend series that was already looking pretty big has suddenly taken on some serious importance. The Tigers and White Sox are tied in the AL Central, and a series win could give quite a push to either team toward a division title. At the very least, it could determine how much a move needs to be made at the trade deadline a week from today.
The big news for the Tigers is that Carlos Guillen returns to the lineup this afternoon. He was activated from the disabled list earlier today, with Josh Anderson designated for assignment to clear a spot on the major league roster. Guillen will be the designated hitter in both games of today's doubleheader.
For the White Sox, Jose Contreras comes off one of the worst games he's pitched since returning from the minors back in June. Against the Orioles, he gave up five runs (four earned), five hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen in 4.1 innings. When Contreras was called back up to the majors, he pitched an outstanding game against the Tigers, holding them to just one hit over eight innings. His career record versus Detroit is 9-9 with a 4.51 ERA in 24 starts. At Comerica Park, Contreras is 4-5 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 appearances.
Justin Verlander was victimized by the Tigers' continual lack of offense last Saturday at Yankee Stadium. And though he gave up a home run to Alex Rodriguez, the two runs he gave up in the seventh inning could arguably be attributed to fortunate bounces and a generous right-field fence. The last time Verlander faced the White Sox, he allowed one run and six hits, with nine strikeouts in a complete game performance. That was especially impressive, considering his previous struggles against the Sox.