Thanks to the Los Angeles Angels, the Chicago White Sox hold a two-game lead in the American League Central Division. The Detroit Tigers come into town for a four-game set starting Monday night, and the White Sox must look into the mirror to maintain that advantage.
Detroit went 1-5 against the Indians and Angels in the week following their sweep of the White Sox that pulled them even for the division lead. Chicago disappointed again this weekend in dropping two of three to Kansas City, but somehow saw the gap between them and the Tigers get a bit wider.
That was courtesy of the Angels, who swept Detroit over the weekend. The White Sox now have to face down the Tigers all by themselves.
Anything less than a split at U.S. Cellular Field puts the White Sox even with or behind the Tigers with just 19 games remaining in the regular season. Detroit provided a golden opportunity, but Chicago certainly didn't look like a team that was in a division race.
To be fair, the Royals have lit up both the Tigers and White Sox as of late. However, all three games this weekend were there for the taking and Chicago could muster a single win.
Adam Dunn was missing from this weekend's action with a sore right oblique muscle. Kevin Youkilis was with his wife as she went through childbirth. Expect Youk to be back at third but don't hold your breath for the Big Donkey.
Starting Monday for Detroit will be Rick Porcello. Following him will be Doug Fister and Max Scherzer, who blanked the White Sox for eight innings September 1. The Tigers haven't announced Thursday's starter, but expect Justin Verlander to face Chris Sale for the second time in less than two weeks.
Chicago starts Jose Quintana, who lasted less than two innings in his last start, on Monday. Before Sale throws in the finale, Jake Peavy and Francisco Liriano are on the mound in the first three games of the series.
The White Sox are 4-10 head-to-head against Detroit in 2012 yet still find themselves looking down on the Tigers. You have to go back to 2009 to find a Chicago win over Detroit in the month of September. In the last three seasons, the White Sox are 0-15 versus Detroit down the stretch.
That is a streak that must come to an end if Chicago has any designs on leaving the South Side with even a piece of the division lead.