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Game 138 Preview: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox

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The Tigers look to stay in a Wild Card spot with another win over the White Sox

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The Tigers are making a habit of late inning comebacks, and it couldn’t be more fun to watch down the stretch. At this time last year, most Detroit fans were trying to find a reason to be optimistic about the Lions. This fall, however, the Tigers have taken centerstage and rejuvenated the fanbase with one dramatic win after another.

Yesterday, Justin Upton played hero for the second game in a row, this time smashing a three-run homer in the 11th inning to propel the Tigers to a 5-3 win over the White Sox. With the win, they kept pace with the Orioles in the Wild Card standings, who were led to victory by Ubaldo Jimenez’s (!) first complete game since 2011 (I know, this pennant race is wild). Additionally, the Indians finally lost a game, so the Tigers have now shaved their deficit in the division to 4.5 games.

A win today would give the Tigers their third straight series win, subsequently all against division rivals. With a three-game series against Baltimore coming up this weekend, it’s imperative that the Tigers don’t stumble before it. A series win against the White Sox could give them the opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Orioles in the Wild Card race.

Detroit Tigers (75-62) at Chicago White Sox (65-72)

Time/Place: 8:10 p.m., U.S. Cellular Field (Guaranteed Rate Field lol)
SB Nation Blog: South Side Sox
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Matt Boyd (5-2, 4.00 ERA) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-6, 4.05 ERA)

After being sent down to Toledo to rearrange the roster prior to September call-ups, Matt Boyd is back to take the hill for the Tigers. Boyd hasn’t had much success against the White Sox this season, having faced them three times and given up a combined 11 runs. In his last start against them last week, he only managed four innings while allowing two runs. Overall, Boyd has been an adequate fifth starter for the Tigers.

Miguel Gonzalez, who you may know from his four years with the Orioles, has had a nice bounce-back year since coming to the White Sox. In 102 13 innings pitched, he’s put up career bests 3.95 FIP and 1.7 WAR. Gonzalez won’t blow anyone away with velocity, but he uses The Art of Pitching as Jim Price calls it to keep hitters off balance. Gonzalez seems like the type of pitcher that would give the Tigers trouble, but in his one start against them this season he gave up seven earned runs in only 3 13 innings.

Hitter to Fear: Todd Frazier
Hitter to Fail: Avisail Garcia

I’m well aware that Todd Frazier is having a down season, but he’s still putting up big numbers in the power department. With 35 home runs on the season, Frazier’s power numbers against left handed pitchers are even better. Against southpaws, he is putting up 110 wRC+ to go with a blistering 295 ISO. Couple that with the fact that Matt Boyd can’t suppress the long ball, and Frazier is licking his chops going into tonight’s game.

The White Sox have quite a few bad hitters in their lineup. Sure, their offense features noted Tiger killers Adam Eaton and Justin Mourneau, and Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera are also solid offensive contributors, but for some reason they just can’t consistently score runs in bunches. Maybe that has to do with the fact that Avisail Garcia has been a complete bust since he was traded to Chicago in 2013 (thanks Dombrowski!). Garcia doesn’t get on base much, and his power hasn’t at all carried over to the home run hitters park the White Sox play in.

Outlook

Justin Upton probably won’t hit another late inning home run to propel the Tigers to victory. Probably. However, the offense of the Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble scoring runs off of Miguel Gonzalez today. With Upton being en fuego since his three game benching (Ausmus is a genius!), the Tigers offense is as deep as it’s been all season, and that’s with Nick Castellanos on the disabled list. Miguel Cabrera is absolutely tearing the cover off the ball lately, and both Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez are due to have big days.

With a taxed bullpen, the Tigers will need to get some innings out of Boyd today. Francisco Rodriguez, Shane Greene, and Alex Wilson have all been overused lately, and for good reason. The Tigers needed them in order to pickup a few extra wins, but they can’t continue to be overworked as they have been. Somehow, Boyd needs to step up and eat some innings, or else we might all have to experience the Joe Jimenez Mark Lowe Show again tonight.

Prediction

The Tigers score lots of runs, but the White Sox knock Boyd out early and then continue to annihilate the tattered remains of the bullpen.