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Know Your Enemy: Detroit Tigers

The White Sox host the Motor City Kitties in the final series of the regular season.

Los Angeles Angels v Chicago White Sox
Looking for power: José Abreu had an excellent OBP of .380 in September, but he slugged only .337.
Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Last time

The White Sox (91-68) won their final road game of the season on Monday against the Tigers (76-83). The previous week’s matchups (September 20 and September 21), however, did not go as well, as Detroit went 2-0 against the White Sox with two close victories.

During that brief two-game series, Carlos Rodón was pulled during the first game after three innings after giving up three hits and having control issues. It was later reported he was experiencing arm soreness. The White Sox managed to tie the Tigers until the eighth inning when Harold Castro’s single broke the tie and giving Detroit the one-run lead.

Dallas Keuchel’s start didn’t go much better after he gave up two runs on 11 hits in five innings. The pitching wasn’t there for the bullpen, either, with Jace Fry giving up three runs on four hits in one and two-thirds innings of relief. The White Sox never quite caught up to the Tigers, and it looked like the postseason may be short with how lackluster things were going.

Facing Cleveland (78-81) was the shot in the arm the team needed, and they came back to Detroit for a make-up game that involved a whole lot of offense. Eloy Jiménez provided a two-run home run, and Yasmani Grandal also homered during the six-run fourth inning. Benches cleared after José Abreu, who had been hit by a pitch to end up on base, slid into second on a stolen base attempt that Niko Goodrum took umbrage with for some reason. Tony La Russa hinted that Abreu was intentionally hit, while the Tigers insisted that Abreu was leaning over the plate.

My favorite part of that graphic is that you can see an outline of Anthony Rizzo.

How’s it going?

The White Sox are currently riding a four-game winning streak, having swept the Reds out of town. Meanwhile, the Tigers are closing out their season on the road, dropping the first two against the Twins before winning the final game of that series. Casey Mize, one of the top prospects the Tigers had, finished his season with a 3.71 ERA in 30 starts after taking the loss on Wednesday.

The series was also highlighted by this pitch that was. a bit outside by Tyler Alexander:

On the road, the Tigers are 34-44 and against Central opponents, they’re 29-44. As a team, Detroit has posted an OBP of .306, led by Robbie Grossman (.351). Grossman also leads the Tigers with 23 home runs while posting a batting average of .236.

Pitching matchups

Friday will be Wily Peralta vs. Lance Lynn. Lynn is 10-6 this season, going 152 innings and posting a 2.72 ERA. He’s 0-3 in his last seven starts, lasting only 37 13 innings and posting a 4.82 ERA. Lynn has fared pretty well against the Tigers, going 3-2 in his last five starts over 29 13 innings with a 3.68 ERA.

Peralta is 4-4 over 87 23 innings with a 3.08 going into his final start of the season. He’s 1-2 in his last seven starts, posting a 2.50 ERA over 36 innings. He hasn’t faced the White Sox since 2015 when he was on the Brewers, earning a no-decision over six innings while allowing six hits and striking out four. He did give up one home run to Geovany Soto, of all people. Peralta throws four pitches consistently: 4-seam fastball, sinker, split, and slider.

Saturday is Matt Manning vs. Lucas Giolito. Giolito is 11-9 this season over 173 23 innings with a 3.58 ERA. In his last seven starts, he’s 2-1 over 36 23 innings with a 2.70 ERA. Against Detroit, he has struggled, posting a record of 0-3 over 30 13 innings in his last five starts against the Tigers with a 5.64 ERA.

Manning is 4-7 going into the final start of his debut season, having gone 80 13 innings with a 6.16 ERA. He is 1-2 in his last seven starts and 0-1 in the three times he’s faced the White Sox. Manning has five pitches in his arsenal: 4-seam fastball, sinker, slider, changeup, and curveball.

Sunday will be Tyler Alexander vs. Dylan Cease for the final game of the season. Cease is 13-7 over 161 23 innings with a 3.95 ERA. He is having the best season of his career (and the first full season of his career) despite some moments of shaky control. In his last seven starts, Cease is 4-1 over 37 innings with a 3.65 ERA. In his last five starts against Detroit, he’s 5-0 over 31 13 innings, posting a 1.44 ERA.

Alexander is 2-4 this season with 100 13 innings and a 3.95 ERA. In his last seven starts, he’s 0-3 with a 3.19 ERA over 36 23 innings. In his five starts against the White Sox, he’s 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA over 22 13 innings. Alexander relies on five pitches: cutter, sinker, changeup, 4-seam fastball, and slider.

Why we still hate them