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Game 118 Preview: Tigers at White Sox

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Max Scherzer is in search of his 18th win of the season tonight in Chicago. Hector Santiago will start for the White Sox.

Jonathan Daniel

Detroit Tigers (69-48) at Chicago White Sox (45-72)

Time/Place: 8:10 p.m., U.S. Cellular Field

SB Nation blog: South Side Sox

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

Pitching Matchup: RHP Max Scherzer (17-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. LHP Hector Santiago (7-11, 2.77 ERA)

Pitcher GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP FIP SIERA fWAR
Scherzer 23 158.1 9.95 1.99 0.80 0.90 2.69 2.83 4.8
Santiago 16 112.2 9.27 4.07 1.12 1.28 4.23 3.91 1.3

Santiago pitched very well in his last start against the Tigers, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings of work. Unfortunately for him, he was matched up against Doug Fister, and Fister was much sharper than he was last night. The Tigers won 2-1. The most impressive part of Santiago's outing was that he only walked one batter, something he has only done in four starts this season.

Santiago only walked two batters in 5 2/3 innings during his last start against the New York Yankees. It might be a bit early to say that he's figuring out his command issues, but he could be getting into a decent groove on the mound. He hasn't changed his repertoire much, though he did throw his fastball more often against the Yankees. It will be interesting to see how he commands his pitches tonight.

In his first start against the Tigers, Santiago used his cutter aggressively, especially early on. Twenty of the 110 pitches he threw on the night were cutters, and he mixed in a healthy diet of fastballs and changeups as well. The second time around, he primarily stuck with his four-seam fastball while adding in a few extra screwballs. The screwball wasn't particularly effective on its own -- he only threw three for strikes -- but it seemed to set up his fastball well, as hitters had to be on the look out for the unique off-speed pitch.

Two of Max Scherzer's four starts after the All-Star Break have come against the White Sox, so it's tough to say whether Max is going through his usual second half surge or if he particularly enjoys dominating the White Sox. Either way, the numbers are staggering. In 28 2/3 innings, he has 23 strikeouts and 12 hits allowed. He has given up four runs total, two of which came on solo homers at U.S. Cellular back on July 22nd. Opposing batters are hitting .125/.160/.219 off Scherzer during this stretch.

Outlook

Having a pitcher dominate as much as Scherzer has since the All-Star Break -- let alone an entire rotation doing the same thing -- is a sweet, sweet luxury for the Tigers. They put up 10 runs in his last start, but he still coasted his way to allowing two runs in seven innings (his worst start since the break). Unless Santiago has a shutout in him, I don't see this one being particularly close.

Prediction

Scherzer gets win number 18.

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