American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, May 6th
(All times eastern)
Chicago White Sox (13-14) at Detroit Tigers (13-13), 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Dylan Axelrod (0-0, 2.70)
Detroit - Rick Porcello (2-2, 5.64)
(Sports Network) - Action in the American League Central heats up as the
Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers finish up a three-game set this
afternoon at Comerica Park.
The teams have split the first two contests, with the Sox posting a 3-2
triumph on Saturday after bowing in the opener, 5-4, the day before. As a
result, the Tigers are now 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for first place in the
division, while Chicago sits just two games out.
Having scored just one run through the first eight innings on Saturday, the
White Sox needed a boost to get them over the hump and they got it from Adam
Dunn who connected on a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning as the
team snapped a three-game slide.
"We needed to win this game today," noted Dunn after delivering his eighth
home run of the season. "Gavin (Floyd) pitched great and kept us in the game
the whole time. It's nice that we were able to get the runs and pull it out."
Also going deep for the visitors was Paul Konerko who connected on his six
home run of 2012.
Floyd made it through seven innings for the Sox, allowing just two runs on
seven hits and striking out six, leaving reliever Nate Jones to grab the win
and Addison Reed to notch his first save of the campaign.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer did not disappoint either, permitting just a
single run on four hits and fanning nine over seven innings of work. Jose
Valverde, who was a perfect 49-for-49 in save opportunities a season ago, was
saddled with the loss, his first of the season, as he surrendered Dunn's long
"He's struggling a little bit, obviously, right now," manager Jim Leyland said
of Valverde. "Maybe I got to get him out there a little bit more. He threw the
ball down right into the groove of the swing and Dunn hit it. He's just
struggling a bit right now and that can happen to closers from time to time."
Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks both posted a pair of hits and an RBI in the
Instead of making his first start of the season on Monday, Dylan Axelrod has
been moved up in the Chicago rotation and will be taking the spot previously
held by Chris Sale for the time being. Most recently the right-hander worked
his way through one inning against Cleveland on Thursday.
Before being called up by the big club, Axelrod had registered 26 strikeouts,
against just four walks, in 25 innings at Triple-A.
As for the Tigers, they plan on handing the ball to Rick Porcello in hopes
that the New Jersey native can back up his victory over Kansas City earlier in
the week with another strong outing. Versus the Royals the 23-year old hurler
allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out three, over eight innings of
action in order to snap a two-game slide.
Now in his fourth year in the majors, Porcello has a career mark of 3-4 with a
6.02 ERA in eight all-time appearances against the White Sox.
Even though the White Sox are currently one game below .500 the team has one
of the top pitching staffs in the majors, ranking first in the American League
as they allow opponents to hit just .220 against them. The squad has issued
just 71 bases-on-balls to this point, third-fewest in the league.
Detroit has been somewhat stingy in giving up walks as well, that staff
handing out just 78, but the larger problem for the Tigers is that opposing
batters are hitting .268 against them, the fifth-highest average in the AL
entering play on Sunday.
05/06 10:29:06 ET