Pennant Chase Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers look to shake off the disappointment of losing in their first opportunity to close out the Central Division.
The Minnesota Twins head home to finish the regular season against the Kansas City Royals while the Detroit Tigers host the Chicago White Sox.
The Tigers enter the series with a magic number of two. Winning two out of three from Chicago wraps up a division title regardless of what Minnesota does against Kansas City. The Royals will send Zack Greinke to the mound on Saturday so the Tigers may be able to get by with only one win over the weekend.
Here is a look ahead at the Tigers' final regular season series of 2009:
Friday, Oct. 2, 7:05 p.m.
Jake Peavy (8-6, 3.75) vs. Edwin Jackson (13-8, 3.36)
In just his second start since returning from injury, Jake Peavy baffled the Tigers offense as he struck out eight over seven shutout innings.
The Sox let Peavy throw 95 pitches so he doesn't seem to be kept to a conservative pitch limit. That being said, manager Ozzie Guillen probably won't tax their prized starter beyond what is reasonable for a team without playoff chances.
Edwin Jackson is still looking for his first win against the White Sox this year. Jackson is 0-1 with a 4.74 ERA in three starts against the pale hose in 2009. Scott Podsednik, AJ Pierzynski and Gordan Beckham each have averages over .333 against Jackson this year.
Jackson was strong until the sixth inning in his last start against the White Sox. If he can stay stronger for longer this time out, the Tigers will be sitting pretty to close out the division race sooner as opposed to later. EJack is capable of seven solid innings; now is the time to deliver.
Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:05 p.m.
Freddy Garcia (2-4, 4.78) vs. Alfredo Figaro (2-1, 5.74)
Freddy Garcia will make his second start against the Tigers in eight days. He hopes the second time around goes much better than the first. Garcia gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs in just over six innings of work.
Freddy managed to start the game with four scoreless innings before the wheels completely fell off. If he can duplicate the success of those innings he may be able to keep the Tigers off balance. Keep an eye on pitcher-batter match-ups between Garcia and fellow Venezuelans Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera.
Alfredo Figaro picked up a victory in relief last Saturday in Chicago. Figaro took over for Nate Robertson and pitched two and two thirds scoreless innings to allow the Tigers offense to find their groove and roar back for a victory.
Figaro showed promise in his major league debut before running into trouble in start number two and ultimately ended up on the disabled list.
The Tigers will keep an eye on the scoreboard as Zack Greinke will look to cement his Cy Young resume and bury the Minnesota Twins.
Sunday, Oct. 4, 1:05 p.m.
John Danks (13-10, 3.69) vs. Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.45)
Chicago White Sox left-hander John Danks is coming off his first complete game of his career. Danks has been the White Sox most consistent starter throughout the season and is a player to watch for the future. Just four and two thirds innings pitched will get Danks to 200 innings on the year, the first time he has done that in his young career.
Danks has made one start against the Tigers this year. Justin Verlander was able to out-duel Danks for the 2-1 victory. The Tigers scored their two runs on an Adam Everett solo home run and a bases loaded walk from Ryan Raburn.
While Justin Verlander is slated to start the season finale, the Tigers hope to not need him on Sunday. The Tigers will rest Verlander and give someone else a spot start if the They can clinch the division title prior to Sunday.
Around the AL Central
Tigers: CWS 10/2-10/4
Twins: KAN 10/2-10/4
White Sox: @DET 10/2-10/4
Indians: @BOS 10/1-10/4
Royals: @MIN 10/2-10/4
The Tigers magic number is two. This is the total number of Tiger wins and Minnesota Twins losses needed for the Tigers to secure their first division championship since 1987.
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