Tigers look to sweep White Sox
Detroit (35-37) has equaled a season high with a four-game winning streak and will look to climb within one game of .500 for the first time since April 25. The Tigers have outscored opponents 19-11 during their streak.
Meanwhile, Chicago (24-45) has dropped three in a row but remains at .500 in June.
The head-to-head matchup between the American League Central rivals has been wildly lopsided this season. Detroit has won seven of eight games against Chicago, including five straight meetings in the White Sox’s park.
Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy (2-1, 3.55 ERA) will try to keep the winning streak alive. The 31-year-old has walked nine and struck out 27 in 38 innings this season. This will be his 11th game and seventh start.
In 19 games (one start) against the White Sox, Hardy is 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA. He is coming off a quality start against the Minnesota Twins in which he allowed two runs and three hits in six innings.
Hardy credited his cutter-slider hybrid pitch for much of his recent success.
“I always go off feel,” Hardy told the Detroit News. “I don’t want to say that pitch kept them off balance, but every time I threw it, even if they were looking for it, it wasn’t a good swing. I don’t have a power fastball, so I might as well use my cutter as my fastball.”
White Sox right-hander James Shields (2-7, 4.63) once possessed a power fastball, but at age 36 he has transformed into a more strategic pitcher. He has enjoyed more success — if not more victories — this season as his WHIP has dropped from 1.44 to 1.23 from 2017 to 2018.
Shields is 9-9 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 career starts against the Tigers. A victory on Sunday would give the veteran double-digit wins against four teams. He has 12 wins against the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays to go along with 11 wins against the Baltimore Orioles.
One hitter Shields will have to be careful around is Nicholas Castellanos, who slugged two home runs for the Tigers in Saturday’s 7-5 win. Castellanos drove in five runs and is hitting .310 with eight homers and 39 RBIs this season.
The White Sox are led at the plate by Jose Abreu, who is hitting .284 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs. He is a strong candidate to land his second All-Star Game appearance this summer.
Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson said he and his teammates were not discouraged despite their record.
“The confidence is always going to be high, the mood is always going to be great whether we win, lose or draw,” Anderson said. “We try not to get down on ourselves, but we try to stay within ourselves and not do too much. We approach the game every day in the same way.”
The White Sox are 12-23 at home this season. The Tigers are 12-20 on the road.