The Detroit Tigers ace looks to win his ninth straight start and help the AL Central leaders pull further away from one of their pursuers when they host the White Sox on Friday night.
Verlander (20-5, 2.38 ERA) became the first pitcher to win 20 games before September since 2002 on Saturday, defeating Minnesota 6-4. He gave up four runs over six-plus innings in one of his poorer outings during this streak.
The right-hander, who leads the majors with 218 strikeouts, has posted a 2.61 ERA over his last eight starts.
“To get to 20 at this point in the season, obviously you can’t do it all on your own,” Verlander said. “These guys have helped me along the way and today was a good example of that.”
Verlander yielded five runs over six innings of an 8-2 loss to the White Sox (68-66) on July 15, just before his run started. He beat them 11 days later with eight innings of four-run ball, and is 3-1 with a 4.03 ERA in four starts against them this year.
He has gone 8-1 with a 2.67 ERA versus Chicago over the past three seasons.
Paul Konerko(notes) and Carlos Quentin(notes) have homered twice against Verlander this year, although Konerko is a .152 career hitter against him. Struggling Adam Dunn(notes) is 2 for 13 with nine strikeouts against Verlander in 2011.
Detroit (75-62) leads Chicago and Cleveland by 5 1/2 games going into this three-game set. The Tigers and White Sox have six meetings left.
The White Sox, winners of five of six, should be confident with John Danks(notes) (6-9, 3.63) on the mound. Danks has gone 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA over his last 11 outings after posting an 0-8 record and 5.25 ERA in his first 11.
“It’s definitely something that builds strength, I guess, is the way to put it,” Danks told the White Sox’s official website. “Confidence, strength. I know I can take a shot to the face for two months and bounce back.”
The left-hander’s last outing was his best of the season, a three-hitter with a season high-tying 10 strikeouts in a 3-0 victory at Seattle on Saturday.
Danks is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Tigers this year. He’s posted a 4.76 ERA in losing his last three outings at Comerica Park.
Jackson is hitting .366 against Chicago this year, joining Alex Avila(notes) (.381), Miguel Cabrera(notes) (.349, four homers) and Jhonny Peralta(notes) (.342) as Tigers who have fared well in the season series.
Quentin and Konerko have combined for half of Chicago’s 14 homers against Detroit, which has won seven of 12 meetings.