That seems unavoidable, however, seeing as it’s the last meeting between the contenders.
Before parting ways for the season, the White Sox try to push their lead over the Tigers to three games, while Detroit looks to pull within one of first place on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.
The finale of a four-game series was rained out last Thursday, so after the White Sox (79-66) traveled to Minnesota to sweep the Twins and Detroit (77-68) went to Cleveland to take two of three, the rivals have returned to Chicago.
“It’s going to be a game with a lot of emotion,” said Jake Peavy, who pitched six strong innings in Sunday’s 9-2 win. “We got our hands full, but at the same time we think we can get it done.”
The White Sox would be in a better position to win the division if they were able to beat Detroit with any regularity. Chicago is 5-12 in the season series and has lost nine of the last 10 meetings.
Regardless of what happens Monday, though, Ventura knows the division race is hardly over.
“You still have to finish the rest of the season,” Ventura said. “And they do, too. It’s one of those there’s going to be a lot of tough games coming up and we’ll face more good pitchers and they’ll face our pitchers.”
One reason for the White Sox to be optimistic for the makeup is their only win over the Tigers since May 15, came Monday, as scheduled starter Jose Quintana (6-4, 3.52 ERA) put together one of his best outings.
After yielding 12 runs over five innings in losing back-to-back starts, Quintana allowed a run and seven hits while striking out seven over 7 2-3 innings in a 6-1 victory. The rookie left-hander will be pitching on an extra two days of rest when he faces the Tigers for his second time.
“It actually does feel good about this time of season to get a couple extra days,” he said. “It gives your arm a little extra strength so I’ll feel good for (Monday).”
Two starts earlier against Chicago on Aug. 31, the right-hander served up a solo shot to A.J. Pierzynski, and ended up allowing three runs in five innings in a game Detroit rallied to win 7-4.
This time, he’ll have to be careful facing Adam Dunn, who appears refreshed after missing seven games with a strained muscle on his right side. The slugger has gone 4 for 7 with a homer in the two contests since his return.
The Tigers hope to have Austin Jackson back in their lineup after he was scratched from Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Indians with a sore left knee. Closer Jose Valverde gave up two runs in the ninth inning in his third straight day of work, so he’ll almost certainly be unavailable Monday.
“These are high-intensity games,” Sunday’s starter Rick Porcello told the Tigers’ official website. “We’re right there in this race.”
Jackson has played a big role in Detroit’s success against the White Sox, batting .379 with three homers, three triples, 14 RBIs and 12 walks in 17 games.
Miguel Cabrera, a leading candidate for AL MVP, has been just as hard on Chicago pitching, hitting .362 with five home runs, 12 RBIs and 12 runs. He hit his 38th homer Sunday, and is 9 for 19 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last four games.