The White Sox have had a pretty easy time of it with the Tigers so far, but today there’s a new opponent — Mother Nature. It will be 92 degrees at game time in Detroit, with the heat index reaching 105 for most of the afternoon. Add in the fact temps on a field are generally well-higher than the surrounding area, and the idea of having a hot hitter takes on new meaning.
It will be Vince Velasquez who will be sweating things out for the White Sox, fresh off an IL stint for a groin strain. Velasquez had a couple of good starts against the Angels and Red Sox early on, but in the latest of his seven starts he got hammered by the Yankees and Royals, leading to a 5.30 ERA. He’ll be facing the weakest hitting team in the majors today, which should help, but watch out for Miguel Cabrera — he’s 3-for-4 with two homers against Velasquez.
Tigers pitching has been hammered by injuries, with most of the presumed starters out. But of the replacements, today’s starter Alex Faedo has been the best. Since being called up in May, Faedo has scored a 2.92 ERA over seven appearances, never giving up more than two runs, and lasting five to six innings. His peripherals indicate some good fortune, but some of that may be because of good control — no more than two walks in a game.
Faedo throws a low-90s four-seamer about half of the time, a slider about 30% and changeup the rest. The change usually has big horizontal movement.
He’ll be facing a White Sox lineup that has been hot lately, and the HOFBP actually has the best hitters at the top, with Andrew Vaughn, who had four singles and a walk yesterday, again in the 2-slot. Seby Zavala will be catching, so it would behoove Velasquez to always hit the middle of the mitt so his catcher doesn’t keel over from heat exhaustion chasing passed balls back to the screen.
Velasquez will be facing a Tigers lineup without Javy Báez, who so far has very much proved he wasn’t worth his nine-figure contract and has been been even worse lately, going 1-for-20 and bringing his average down to .188. Also on the bench will be Robbie Grossman, whose 62 OPS+ is down 52 points from 2021.
Along with Cabrera, watch out for Eric Haase, who hasn’t hit a lick this year but somehow usually manages to bedevil the White Sox.
Sweeping the Tigers many not be the biggest accomplishment in baseball, but it’s a whole lot better than the alternative. Plus, a sweep would bring the White Sox back to within a game of .500 and continue momentum going into a rough seven days against Houston and Toronto.
First pitch is slated for 12:10 p.m. Central, if the ball doesn’t melt. Usual broadcast outlets, but the way things have been run this year, just about anybody could be in the TV booth.