Sox looking vulnerable against Tigers

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
10:49
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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DETROIT -- The Chicago White Sox's division lead -- maybe along with some of their season-long swagger -- has begun to fade.

Detroit starter Max Scherzer went through the White Sox lineup with apparent ease Saturday, allowing just four hits in eight dominant innings as the Tigers sailed to a 5-1 victory to cut the White Sox’s American League Central lead to a single game.

[+] EnlargeFrancisco Liriano
AP Photo/Duane BurlesonFrancisco Liriano lasted just four innings in Saturday's loss, walking seven.
Sox starter Francisco Liriano put his team in an early hole, walking seven Tigers in just four innings of work and giving up three runs. The seven walks matched a career high for Liriano, who said there was no extra pressure in Saturday night’s showdown.

“No, this didn’t make any difference to me,” Liriano said. “Every game counts [the same]. I just try to give my team a chance to win a ballgame and just do my job.”

While White Sox manager Robin Ventura has preached a one-day-at-a-time approach to the season, at this point, the Tigers, who have a bigger payroll and higher profile, appear ready to make a move to take over the division lead.

“If they’re putting their heads down (they should not), because there is a long way to go and you’re still where you want to be,” Ventura said. “There is no need hanging your head because there are a lot of other places you could be. You could be like 15 or 20 games back, and nobody is going to feel sorry for you, either.”

The White Sox’s sixth straight loss to Detroit might have had an effect on a team that has as many young players as it does veterans.

“I don’t have just one answer on why we have not won a game here,” team captain Paul Konerko said. “You just have to keep playing and keep grinding. Sometimes you don’t win the games you want to but you win other games.”

With the victory, the Tigers now have won 17 of their past 20 home games against Chicago.

“Results are what you are looking for in order to be on top,” Konerko said. “We would like to get one here and be able to take the edge off.”

Sunday’s series finale doesn’t look to be any easier for Konerko and company as the White Sox match up left-hander Chris Sale against reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.319 35 104 77
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 35
RBIJ. Abreu 104
RA. Ramirez 79
OPSJ. Abreu .979
WC. Sale 12
ERAC. Sale 2.20
SOC. Sale 198