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Game 103 Preview: White Sox at Tigers

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The Tigers and White Sox kick off a three game series with starters heading in opposite directions. The struggling Anibal Sanchez will look to keep pace with red-hot Jose Quintana.

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago White Sox (51-55) at Detroit Tigers (57-45)

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

SB Nation blog: South Side Sox

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV (Free Game of the Day), Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.15 ERA) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-4, 3.45 ERA)

Pitcher GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP FIP SIERA fWAR
Quintana 21 131.1 8.09 2.60 0.41 1.20 2.80 3.47 3.5
Sanchez 18 107.0 6.81 2.27 0.34 1.09 2.95 3.86 2.7

Jose Quintana is really effing good. After his ERA hit a season-high 4.00 after a pair of six inning, three run outings against the Tigers in late April, Quintana has held opponents to a 2.83 ERA and .579 OPS in 95 1/3 innings. He has been on fire as of late, allowing just nine runs in his past seven starts. He has logged at least seven innings in six of those seven starts, and has struck out eight hitters or more three times. This recent stretch has lowered Quintana's by nearly a full run. Amazingly, the White Sox are just 8-13 in games that Quintana starts this season.

Despite ranking in the top half of the league in runs scored per game, the White Sox are scoring just 3.8 runs per game when Quintana takes the mound, the 14th lowest rate among qualified starters in the AL. This has left Quintana with nine no-decisions this season, tied for the third-most in the league. He is on pace to match last year's total of 17 no decisions, which led the league. Since 2012, Quintana has a whopping 39 no decisions in 76 starts.

Quintana has also been extremely stingy in the power department, allowing just six home runs this season despite pitching at one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the league. Even more impressive is that all six have been solo home runs, with five coming on the road. Rajai Davis homered off of Quintana in his start at Comerica Park in April, a 7-4 Tigers victory. Quintana was even sharper against the Tigers five days later, striking out 10 in six strong innings at U.S. Cellular Field. To no one's surprise, Quintana did not factor in the decision when Bryan Holaday bunted in the game-winning run against Chicago's bullpen.

July has not been very kind to Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers' ERA leader going into the month, Sanchez has allowed a 6.12 ERA in four starts. He has just 15 strikeouts to six walks in 25 innings and has allowed at least six hits in each of his four starts. One recurring theme from Sanchez this month has been his inability to get through the middle innings. He has allowed just one run in innings 1-4 this month, and, ironically,

Hitter to fear: Alejandro De Aza (.444/.545/.667 in 11 plate appearances)
Hitter to fail: Adam Dunn (.212/.278/.273 in 36 plate appearances)

Sanchez has made five career starts against the White Sox, all within the last 13 months. He has held the Sox in check for the most part, limiting them to a 3.30 ERA and .692 OPS in 30 innings. He was bested by John Danks earlier this year, allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Only Alejandro De Aza has had some semblance of sustained success against Sanchez, with a pair of doubles in nine at-bats. Sanchez has stymied Adam Dunn for much longer, dating back to their days in the National League. Dunn's .551 OPS is well below his career average, and 16 strikeouts in 36 plate appearances prove that he is utterly lost against the Tigers' right-hander. Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, and Paul Konerko also have brutal numbers against Sanchez, though in a much smaller sample.

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Outlook

Hunker down and be patient, Tigers fans. Quintana has been extremely stingy early in games, limiting opponents to a .528 OPS the first time through the batting order. Things improve slightly the second time through the lineup, but the third turn through the order is where teams have had some success against the 25 year old lefty. Opponents are hitting .315/.363/.438 in the sixth inning and have scored 14 runs in 17 outings. Sanchez's middle inning struggles have been more severe of late, but overall his inning-by-inning splits are much less pronounced. However, given the volatility of both bullpens -- they both rank in the bottom third of the league in ERA -- no game is ever out of reach.

Prediction

The Tigers come back to win against Chicago's bullpen after Sanchez falters in the sixth.

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