After the latter half of 2015, it’s weird to think of a pitcher not named Justin Verlander whose starts are legitimate cause for excitement. We’ve reached that point with Michael Fulmer, however. The Tigers have won 11 of his last 12 starts, of which 8 have come away from home. Any way you slice it, the rookie has been Detroit’s savior to this point.
It will be interesting to see how the Tigers handle Fulmer’s innings limit. Could they take a proactive approach today and yank him earlier than they normally would? All indications point to no; he threw eight innings just five days ago against Kansas City. Today, however, is an ideal day to try and escape with less work- Shane Greene and Francisco Rodriguez are the only relievers who have pitched in the last two days, while the Tigers have an excellent matchup. First, however, they’ll have to actually score some runs.
Detroit Tigers (50-46) at Chicago White Sox (46-49)
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 Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.13 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob Turner (0-1, 18.00 ERA)
My, how Jacob Turner’s career has fallen. Once regarded as the 1B to Nick Castellanos’ 1A in terms of top Tigers prospects, he has now pitched for four different MLB teams in his young career. Turner was dealt to Miami in 2012 in what was one of Dave Dombrowski’s finest moments, bringing back Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. He had a moderately successful stint with Miami in 2013, but after being awful in 2014 was dumped by the Marlins and picked up by the Cubs. After missing most of 2015 with an elbow injury, he’s landed in the South Side.
Turner made his first MLB appearance since 2014 for the White Sox five days ago, and it didn’t go very well. The Angels roughed him up for eight runs in just four innings of work, so the White Sox can’t be feeling too good about their odds tonight. Of course, the same probably could have been said about several of Detroit’s opposing pitchers recently, yet the team has dealt with a severe slump.
Tigers hitter to fear: Justin Upton (.333/.455/.1000 in 11 plate appearances)
Tigers hitter to fail: James McCann (.161/.205/.195 against righties this year)
Fulmer has never faced the White Sox, and Turner has never faced the Tigers. Therefore, there wasn’t a whole lot of matchup data available. For what it’s worth, Upton has two home runs off of Turner, while Cameron Maybin has a hit in two at-bats. Meanwhile, McCann will probably struggle today, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia has played a lot lately and will likely be used tomorrow for Matt Boyd’s start. Expect the back end of the Detroit lineup to struggle heavily today.
The White Sox have been in an epic swoon in the month of July, and they must feel like last night was a wasted opportunity. It’s hard not to feel good about Detroit’s chances given how well Fulmer has thrown the ball all year and Turner’s struggles at the MLB level, but the Tigers really just need to get the offense going. They’ve scored just 18 runs in their 7 games since the All-Star Break, and just 6 runs in the last four. However, I like their odds of a breakout tonight.
Detroit throws a four-man combined two-hitter tonight, and McCann strikes out twice. Tigers win.