Sunday, September 4, 2011
Tigers look for sweep in Motor City
By Katie Sharp
Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox wrap up their three-game series tonight on Sunday Night Baseball at 8 ET on ESPN2. Detroit, who has won 15 of the last 20 matchups, is looking for its second sweep of Chicago this season.
Yesterday, the Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally for the 9-8 win. All three runs came off White Sox closer Sergio Santos, who had not allowed a run on the road yet this season. The Tigers seven-run comeback was their largest of the season, while the White Sox blew their largest lead of the season.
On the Mound
Mark Buehrle takes the ball for the visiting White Sox tonight. When he’s on the hill, don’t think about getting a snack or you might miss an entire inning. He averages just 15 pitches per inning, sixth-fewest among AL starters.
Buehrle had a miserable start to the season, going 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA in six April starts. But he’s turned it around since then, with a 10-3 record and 2.47 ERA in his last 20 starts. His 2.47 ERA since May 1 is second in the AL behind only Justin Verlander.
Buehrle has dominated the Tigers in recent starts, with a 7-1 record and 2.96 ERA since August 3, 2007, and is 18-9 against them for his career.
Max Scherzer is scheduled to be on the mound for the Tigers. Scherzer’s ERA has risen more than a run from last year (3.50) to this year (4.52). The longball has been a problem for him, as he’s already surrendered 25 homers after allowing 20 in 2010. Five of those home runs have come on pitches out of the strike zone to right-handed hitters. Last season, he allowed none.
Scherzer, however, has pitched well against the Pale Hose this season, with a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings. He has just one win to show for it, though, as the Tigers have scored only four runs in the three games he’s started.
Matchup to Watch
Miguel Cabrera, who hit a walk-off homer to complete the Tigers’ comeback on Saturday, has crushed White Sox pitching this year. He’s hitting .353 with five homers and 12 RBI in 14 games. That comes one year after he hit a miserable .161 with just two homers in 16 games in 2010.
Stat of the Game
The Tigers entered September 1 in first place in the AL Central. However, the last three times the Tigers led their division on the morning of September 1, they failed to win the division at the end of the season (2009, 2006, 1988). Only in 2006 did they still make the playoffs as the wild card.
-- Mark Simon contributed to this post