Chicago White Sox (40-67) at Detroit Tigers (62-45)
Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: South Side Sox
Pitching Matchup: LHP John Danks (2-8, 4.57 ERA) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (15-1, 3.01 ERA)
The Tigers knocked John Danks around in their last meeting, scoring six runs on 11 hits, including three home runs. They didn't do much outside those home runs, however, and Danks was still able to log seven innings. He was much better in his last start, allowing just two runs in six innings against the Cleveland Indians. He only gave up two hits, but walked four batters while striking out three.
Like Hector Santiago yesterday, Danks relies on a high fly ball rate to get outs. Unfortunately, he has not been able to keep the ball in the park as well as in years past. He allowed seven dingers in his six July starts and has given up 17 homers in 13 starts this season. Only seven of those 17 bombs have come at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, where he has a 3.83 ERA and 9.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
On the road, things have been a bit different. In seven road starts, Danks has allowed 10 home runs and a 5.36 ERA. His 2.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't bad, but hitters clearly aren't being fooled by his stuff. They are hitting .285 against him on the road, and 21 of the 45 hits Danks has allowed have gone for extra bases.
Scherzer was dominant -- what else is new? -- in his last start, allowing just one hit in six innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. He struck out seven and only needed 75 pitches to get through the sixth, but was pulled by Jim Leyland anyway. Max has been rolling lately, allowing a 2.70 ERA in July. He issued just six walks 33 1/3 July innings, bringing his walk rate down below two base on balls per nine innings. His 5.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio is third in the American League and first among AL teams other than the Seattle Mariners.
If Miguel Cabrera plays in this series I will be sad
Yes, the meet-up folks will probably want to see Miggy take live swings, but his late scratch last night shows that he's clearly not healthy enough to be playing right now. Give him the weekend off and get him ready for the upcoming week, which includes four games against the Cleveland Indians.
Speaking of the meet-up, anyone who is everyone can click here for details.
Expect a righty-heavy lineup from the Tigers tonight with the left-handed Danks on the mound. However, this might not necessarily be the best strategy. Lefties are teeing off on Danks this year, hitting .287/.330/.543 with seven home runs in 100 plate appearances. This isn't a mirage. Lefties have a higher OPS against Danks in his career. Then again, other than Alex Avila, it's not like any of the lefties in the Tigers lineup are hitting very well right now.
Scherzer gets win number 16 in a blowout.