While the Chicago White Sox have watched one of their toughest opponents this season leave town, they’ll welcome one that hasn’t been quite as successful at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox look to beat the Detroit Tigers for the fifth time in seven tries at home on Friday night when they open their final three-game series of 2008.
Chicago (81-65) dropped seven of eight contests to Toronto, including three of four this week - a stretch capped by Thursday’s 6-4 defeat. The bullpen, which allowed two runs and five hits in 1 2-3 innings, compiled a 7.94 ERA during the set.
Jermaine Dye drove in two runs, and Jim Thome’s two-run homer was the 538th of his career for the White Sox, who have lost four of their last five overall to fall to 3-4 on their current 10-game homestand.
“We have the type of team that can win seven in a row, six in a row, but we have the type of team that can lose five or six in a row. That’s the way we’ve played all year long,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Streaky play outside the division has kept the White Sox from dominating in the AL Central. Chicago comes in with a one-game lead over second-place Minnesota.
The White Sox, though, are 37-23 versus Central foes, posting a 9-6 mark versus Detroit. The Tigers, meanwhile, are just 27-36 against the division with Justin Verlander (10-15, 4.78 ERA) going 4-10 in 17 starts versus those clubs.
“We all have to do a better job against our division - all of us, not just Verlander,” manager Jim Leyland told the Tigers’ official Web site.
On Saturday, Verlander didn’t factor in the Tigers’ 6-4 win at Minnesota. He gave up four earned runs and eight hits while walking four over 5 2-3 innings.
“I felt like I made some progress on some of the things I’m working on,” said Verlander, 2-6 with a 7.17 ERA over his last nine starts.
The right-hander is 2-8 with a 6.01 ERA in 13 career starts versus the White Sox, losing four of five this year. Dye is 13-for-36 (.361) with four homers and seven RBIs, while Thome has hit .281 (9-for-32) with six homers and 10 RBIs lifetime against Verlander.
He gave up five runs and six hits while fanning eight over 7 2-3 innings of a 5-1 defeat on Aug. 6 at U.S. Cellular Field, where Verlander is 0-5 with a 6.14 ERA in seven career outings.
He looks to help the Tigers prevent a third straight loss after they fell 5-2 at home to Oakland on Wednesday. Ryan Raburn drove in both runs.
Detroit (70-76), widely favored to win the Central, will kick off its final nine-game road trip of the year against John Danks (10-8, 3.44), who has gone 0-3 with a 5.95 ERA over his last four outings.
The left-hander didn’t earn a decision on Sunday despite limiting the playoff-bound Los Angeles Angels to two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts over 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2 home loss.
The White Sox, though, have won four of Danks’ five career starts versus the Tigers - a span in which he’s 2-1 with a 4.80 ERA. He’s beaten Verlander twice this season.
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