Detroit Tigers (83-62) at Chicago White Sox (58-86)
Time/Place: 8:10 p.m., U.S. Cellular Field
SB Nation blog: South Side Sox
Pitching Matchup: RHP Anibal Sanchez (13-7, 2.61 ERA) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (7-6, 3.70 ERA)
Jose Quintana started the first game between the Tigers and White Sox this season on July 9th, allowing three runs in eight innings in an 11-4 White Sox win. The two teams have faced each other 13 times since that game, but this is only the second time that Quintana has toed the rubber. Even stranger, it took an act of God for this matchup to happen. Quintana only logged one inning against the New York Yankees on September 2nd and was taken out after a long rain delay. He started for the White Sox three days later on the 5th, setting him up for tonight's matchup.
Quintana has been remarkably consistent throughout the second half, allowing three runs or fewer in all but one of his starts. He has improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 2.73 in the first half to 3.31 in the second, striking out nearly a batter per inning. When batters are making contact, however, they are getting on base at a .329 clip thanks to a 24.6% line drive rate and .333 BABIP.
In three career starts against the Tigers, Quintana has held the big bats in check... sort of. Both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are 2-for-9 with a walk, but they have combined for three extra base hits (including a homer) among those four hits.
Sanchez has continued to quietly be the Tigers' most consistent starter during the second half, posting a 2.17 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. His second half strikeout rate isn't particularly impressive given the gaudy numbers he put up in the first half, but he is striking out over a batter per inning in seven starts since August 1st.
Oh, what a difference a day makes. Yesterday, people were jumping off the Tigers' bandwagon left and right. Today, Rick Porcello is the ace of the pitching staff -- at least, that's what talk radio guests would have you think. Meanwhile, Sanchez has been the real ace of the staff lately. He dominated the White Sox in his only start at U.S. Cellular this year, tossing six shutout innings back in July. Meanwhile, Quintana has been a thorn in the Tigers' side in a small sample size of starts. He too is putting together a solid second half, and I wouldn't expect things to change tonight.
Sanchez outpitches Quintana and the Tigers right the ship with a series win.