The Detroit Tigers lost seven straight games to start the season, and after becoming the last team in the major leagues to win, would like to forget their most recent outing.
They’d also like to forget their most recent series against the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox will look to win for the sixth time in seven games on Friday when they began a three-game home series against the Tigers, whom they swept last weekend in convincing fashion.
Chicago (5-3) was a disappointing 72-90 last season, and got off to a rocky start in 2008, giving up 17 runs in a pair of losses to Cleveland. But the White Sox then reeled off five straight wins, including three against Detroit (1-8).
“Everybody on this team knows what happened last year and nobody wants to go through that again,” said third baseman Joe Crede, who is hitting .406 with 11 RBIs.
Crede had four hits in Chicago’s 13-2 blowout of Detroit on Sunday.
The White Sox will send Jose Contreras (0-0, 7.20 ERA) to the mound. Contreras was slated to start Thursday before rain postponed Chicago’s series finale with Minnesota, and more inclement weather is forecast for the Chicago area.
The White Sox haven’t played since Wednesday, when their five-game winning streak ended with a 12-5 loss to the Twins.
“We’re not going to win 162 games,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “But every time we lose a game, we need to bounce back and play better.”
Contreras will try to rebound from a rocky season debut last Friday, when he allowed five runs over five innings in Detroit before the White Sox rallied for an 8-5 win.
That ineffective performance was similar to Contreras’ three starts against the Tigers last season, when he went 0-2 with a 9.50 ERA.
Detroit’s Carlos Guillen has had the most success against the Cuban right-hander, hitting .429 (15-for-35) with three home runs and nine RBIs.
Guillen is hitting .323 through 10 games, but he’s one of the few Tigers so far to look sharp at the plate. Expected to be one of baseball’s most potent lineups, the Tigers have three regulars batting below .200—Miguel Cabrera (.138), Placido Polanco (.152) and Gary Sheffield (.190).
The Tigers have scored 28 runs in 10 games, fewest in the American League. They’re not getting anyone out either—Detroit’s pitching staff has allowed an AL-worst 58 runs.
The Tigers haven’t had a starter go six innings in their last six games, a trend that continued in a 12-6 loss at Boston on Thursday prior to the bullpen allowing eight runs.
“There isn’t a bullpen in the history of baseball that could help a team when the starters can only muster five innings every night,” manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s where you start, and we’ll worry about the bullpen after we get that straightened out.”
Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will get the ball for the Tigers, looking to find the plate more often than he did in his season debut. He didn’t allow a hit to the White Sox for five innings on Saturday but walked seven, and was chased in the sixth.
Willis was charged with three runs in Detroit’s 5-3 loss. His only other appearance against Chicago came June 19 with Florida, giving up four earned runs in just one inning.
The White Sox have taken 10 of the last 13 overall from the Tigers.