Because of a rainout on Sunday, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander had his turn in the rotation bumped back to Tuesday night.
That’s rough news for the Chicago White Sox, who will have to face the former Cy Young Award winner for the second time in a week when they square off at U.S. Cellular Field in the opener of a two-game series.
Verlander threw a season-high 119 pitches when he faced Chicago last Tuesday, allowing just two runs over seven innings. While he did give up eight hits – including a solo homer to the red-hot Jose Abreu – he also struck out seven and forced a pair of double-plays in an 8-6 victory.
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"Once (Verlander) gets a lead like that, he really goes into power-save mode," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He wasn’t really cranking it up and letting it fly. He was just kind of controlling with offspeed stuff and getting guys out in front. He wasn’t reaching back trying to blow anybody away. He was just trying to conserve, and it’s just smart. He’s a smart pitcher."
Verlander (3-1, 2.18 ERA) improved to 13-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 16 starts against Chicago since 2009.
Chicago will counter with Jose Quintana (1-2, 3.90), who is also making consecutive starts against the same opponent. Quintana gave up three runs over six innings Thursday in a 7-4 loss that allowed the Tigers (12-9) to split the four-game set.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five career starts against Detroit.
The White Sox (14-13) struck out 15 times in Thursday’s finale and have fanned a major league-high 238 times through 27 games, but they again put together some good at-bats Monday. Abreu continued his hot stretch with two hits and an RBI in a 7-3 win over Tampa Bay, giving him a major league-best 32 runs driven in this season.
Adam Eaton and Alejandro De Aza had 2 RBIs apiece. The White Sox are hitting .303 and have totaled 60 runs while winning six of nine.
"Our mentality of tough at-bats to put pressure and have opportunities," Ventura said. "We have a lot of guys who feel like they can do something when they go up there.
"There’s a feeling we are going to knock guys in, and it’s a contagious feeling when a team gets that."
Chicago will be playing its 15th game in as many days Tuesday, with Thursday’s off day set to be its first since April 14.
The Tigers, meanwhile, have played just twice since they last faced Quintana with the rainout on Sunday and an off day Monday. The extra rest has Detroit manager Brad Ausmus worried his team may be out of sync after hitting .317 over its previous five games.
”No one can get any type of rhythm,” Ausmus said. ”Guys are going on five days’ rest, four days’ rest, six days’ rest. … Rhythm gets you in a comfort zone mentally.”
The Tigers outscored the White Sox 45-34 in winning six of 10 on the South Side last season.