Justin Verlander hasn’t had much success in his first two starts of the season at home. Now he has to find some in a ballpark where he’s never had any.
Verlander (0-1, 6.17 ERA) faced Chicago in his last start and gave up a career-high nine runs—four earned—and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 13-2 home loss on Sunday. He fell to 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA in nine starts against the White Sox.
“I was making good pitches and getting groundballs, but they kept going to places where no one could get to them,” he said. “That’s what makes this so hard.”
Most of the right-hander’s problems against Chicago (5-4), however, have come on the road.
He is 0-3 with a 5.97 ERA in five starts at U.S. Cellular Field, and the Tigers have lost all of those games. He’s given up eight homers and 33 total hits over 28 2-3 innings in those outings.
Chicago right fielder Jermaine Dye is 10-for-23 (.435) with three homers and five RBIs against Verlander, including a double in three at-bats Sunday.
Verlander will also be counted on to give Detroit some innings after its bullpen was forced to record every out in a 5-2 win on Friday to open this series. Starter Dontrelle Willis, making his second start with Detroit, suffered a hyperextended knee when he lost his footing right in front of the mound while delivering to the second batter he faced.
“After it happened, I tried to continue to throw but my leg just felt numb all the way up. … I think I just missed (the plant),” he said. “I got a little long and caught the back of my cleat.”
The Tigers (2-8) managed to win for the first time in four tries against Chicago because of the work of their bullpen. Aquilino Lopez allowed one run over four innings to earn the win.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland believes the victory showed that his much-maligned club still has plenty of fight in it.
“We get in 3, 4 o’clock in the morning. Terrible weather. We’re going tough,” Leyland said. “Things haven’t been going good and we come out and get an effort like that. … That can put to rest anybody that thinks this club doesn’t bust every day.”
White Sox slugger Jim Thome was ejected for just the third time in his career in the fifth inning after he was called out on a 3-2 pitch by plate umpire James Hoye. An angry Thome was separated from Hoye by manager Ozzie Guillen.
“You eject Jim Thome, a guy who never says anything to anybody,” said Guillen. “He said he thought the ball was low and the umpire saw the ball different.”
Gavin Floyd (1-0, 4.50) will take the mound for Chicago after he faced Willis last Saturday in his season debut. Floyd allowed three runs and six hits over six innings in a 5-3 victory to improve to 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers.
The right-hander is still looking for his first home win in his second season with Chicago. Floyd went 0-3 with a 6.55 ERA in eight appearances, including five starts, at U.S. Cellular Field last season.