The Chicago White Sox have the best record in baseball over the last two months, but a disappointing stretch of late has them looking up in the AL Central.
Hoping to avoid becoming the first team in nearly three months to lose a home series to the Detroit Tigers, the White Sox send Freddy Garcia(notes) to the mound against his favorite opponent in Sunday’s series finale.
Chicago (65-52) was headed for its second straight win in this series Saturday night, but Alex Avila(notes) hit a two-run homer off substitute closer J.J. Putz(notes) in the ninth inning to give Detroit a 3-2 victory. Although the White Sox are a major league-best 41-19 since June 9, they have lost six of nine to drop two games behind Central-leading Minnesota.
Even their play at home has suffered lately. Chicago has lost four of seven at U.S. Cellular Field after a 19-1 stretch there.
Putz worked the ninth with regular closer Bobby Jenks(notes) out with back spasms. Jenks isn’t expected to pitch Sunday, either. After a day off Monday, the team will decide if he needs to go on the disabled list.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready by Tuesday,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I hope he is. But you can’t even move today and all of a sudden Tuesday you’re fine?”
Detroit (56-60) won for only the second time in 15 road games and gave itself a chance to end a string of 10 straight road series losses dating to a two-game sweep at Oakland in May.
Getting that elusive road series win won’t be easy against Garcia (10-5, 4.90 ERA), who should be happy to see the Tigers after a miserable performance. The veteran is 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three starts this season against Detroit and 18-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 career outings, including 9-1 in the last 12. The 18 wins are his most versus any opponent.
Garcia lasted only 2 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 12-6 loss to the Twins, allowing six runs and eight hits - three of them homers. Although he was 7-1 in his previous 12 starts, the right-hander failed to complete three innings for the second time in four outings.
Miguel Cabrera(notes) had another quiet game Saturday for the Tigers, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Cabrera, second in the majors with 94 RBIs, is 7 for 35 with one RBI in his last 12 games. He is 5 for 32 against the White Sox this season.
Armando Galarraga(notes) (3-5, 4.48) looks to end a personal four-game losing streak for Detroit. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.31 ERA in seven starts since beating the Mets on June 24. He has only one win in 11 outings since nearly throwing a perfect game June 2.
Poor control was an issue again Monday in a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay as Galarraga allowed four runs, five hits and four walks over five innings. He had five walks against Chicago on Aug. 4 as he gave up four runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss.
Galarraga is 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA in his last three road starts against the White Sox.