Tigers-White Sox Preview

The Detroit Tigers fell short of matching their longest win

streak over the Chicago White Sox, but Justin Verlander has his

chance to continue his dominance of the AL Central rivals.

The Tigers ace will try to win his seventh straight over the

resurgent White Sox and fourth in a row overall Saturday night.

In Friday’s opener of a 10-game homestand, Chicago (28-31) won

its season-high fourth in a row and ended a nine-game skid to

Detroit (29-27). The White Sox used home runs from Carlos Quentin,

Brent Lillibridge and Juan Pierre to earn that 6-4 victory, but

they might find it difficult to repeat that performance against

Verlander (5-3, 3.12 ERA).

The right-hander enters the game 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last

five starts, a stretch that began with his second career no-hitter

May 7 in Toronto. He scattered four hits over 7 2-3 innings in

Sunday’s 3-0 win over Boston while throwing a career-high 132

pitches.

“His mindset was tremendous,” manager Jim Leyland told the

team’s website. “He was on a mission.”

He’s been even better lately against Chicago, going 6-0 with a

2.03 ERA in the last six matchups. Verlander allowed three runs and

four hits over seven innings and struck out eight in a 9-3 victory

at Comerica Park on April 22.

While the Tigers starter has been successful since his latest

no-hitter, former teammate Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.63) has dealt with

inconsistency since his gem last season for Arizona.

The right-hander is 9-11 with a 4.44 ERA since no-hitting Tampa

Bay last June 25 and coming off a difficult outing. After allowing

one run in his previous start, Jackson was tagged for six over 6

2-3 innings in Toronto last Saturday, including three runs in the

first.

“Today was a fight,” Jackson told the team’s website. “Once you

get down, 3-0, in the first inning, it’s easy to fold and crumble,

but we continued to battle back.”

He fared worse in Detroit on April 23, giving up eight runs and

12 hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 9-0 defeat. Jackson is 0-2 with a

6.98 ERA in the last three starts against his former club after

going 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his previous five.

The right-hander, though, might get some help with leading

hitter Paul Konerko expected to return to the lineup Saturday. The

White Sox slugger, batting .310 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs, was

scratched Friday after undergoing a minor procedure to remove a

loose fragment in his left wrist.

Konerko is hitting .323 with four homers in his last 17 games

against the Tigers but is 5 for 41 (.122) in his career versus

Verlander. A.J. Pierzynski, who has four consecutive two-hit games,

has fared better against the right-hander, going 17 for 52 (.327)

with three homers.

Carlos Quentin, batting .353 with eight RBIs in his last five

games, also has three home runs off Verlander and is 8 for 26

(.308).

Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta is riding an 11-game hit streak

and is 8 for 30 (.267) lifetime against Jackson.