Tigers-White Sox Preview
Scherzer again looks to become the first pitcher to reach the 20-win mark while dealing the White Sox their 10th loss in 11 games Monday night when a pair of All-Star pitchers face off in Chicago.
Aside from a 16-run outburst at Kansas City on Friday, the Tigers (82-61) have totaled 13 runs while dropping five of seven in September. They managed just six hits in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Royals, but still lead the AL Central by 5 1/2 games.
Detroit, though, may not need a whole lot of scoring with Scherzer (19-2, 2.88 ERA) facing the last-place White Sox (57-85).
Scherzer, who ranks in majors' top 10 in wins, strikeouts (209), ERA and opponent batting average (.196), is 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last five starts against Chicago.
He's 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his last two outings at U.S. Cellular Field, though the White Sox pulled out a 4-3, 11-inning win there Aug. 13. The right-hander also held Chicago to three hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 3-0 home win on Aug. 3.
Now Scherzer will make his third bid to become the Tigers' second 20-game winner in three years.
Scherzer limited the Red Sox to two runs and five hits over seven-plus innings Tuesday but lost 2-1. It was his first defeat on the road, where he's 8-1 with a 2.17 ERA in 14 starts.
"He pitched terrific," manager Jim Leyland said. "Early on, I thought he was as sharp as he's been all year."
Adam Dunn is 5 for 27 with 14 strikeouts the past four seasons against Scherzer, but he's batting .375 with two homers against the Tigers this year. The slugger belted his 31st home run Sunday as Chicago avoided a winless 10-game road trip with a 4-2 victory at Baltimore.
The White Sox will try win for the fifth time in six home games behind Sale (10-12, 2.97), who needs one strikeout to join Wilbur Wood and Gary Peters as the only lefties in franchise history to record 200 strikeouts in a single season.
"We want to win as many games from here on out as we can," Sale told the league's official website. "We might not be in playoff contention, but we have pride on the line."
Since yielding eight runs in a loss to Texas on Aug. 23, Sale has returned to his elite form by fanning 18 and allowing three earned runs in his last two starts.
He's pitched well versus the Tigers this season, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA with 25 strikeouts in three starts. He pitched a nine-hitter in a 6-2 home win Aug. 12.
Miguel Cabrera, who leads the majors in batting average (.353) and RBIs (133), homered off Sale in that contest and is 3 for 7 with two homers against him this season. Cabrera, though, has gone 2 for 14 in his last five games overall as he continues to deal with an abdominal strain.
Teammate Victor Martinez should be happy to see Sale since he's 8 for 11 against him this season. He's also batting .408 in 13 games versus the White Sox.
The Tigers have won eight of 13 meetings this season, including four of seven in Chicago.