The Tigers look to avoid losing five straight games for the first time all season in Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox.
Detroit (61-48) owned baseball’s best record on July 23 when it was 59-38, but it has lost 10 of its last 12 with five of those defeats coming to Chicago.
The Tigers fell out of first place in the AL Central for the first time since July 5 after losing Friday’s series opener 7-4, and remained a half-game behind division-leading Cleveland with Saturday’s 7-5 defeat. They lead Seattle by one-half game for the wild card.
“We need to right the ship or it’s not going to be pretty,” Saturday’s losing pitcher Jeremy Bonderman said. “If we want to make the playoffs, we have to pick it up.”
The White Sox (51-59) have frustrated the Tigers all season, winning seven of 11 over them this year and 33 of 49 since 2005.
Chicago has won three straight and eight of 12, and has not won four in a row since June 25-28. The White Sox have hit eight home runs during their winning streak after Jim Thome and A.J. Pierzynski each homered Saturday.
Thome is 7-for-16 (.438) with two homers in his last five games against the Tigers, while Pierzynski is 7-for-19 (.368) with five runs in his last six games against them.
Detroit hasn’t gotten much in this series from Chicago native Curtis Granderson, who is 1-for-7 in the first two games. He’s batting .298 on the season, but is 10-for-41 (.244) in 11 games against the White Sox this season.
Jordan Tata (1-0, 2.57 ERA) looks to help prevent Detroit from losing five straight for the first time since the last five games of the 2006 season when he takes the hill Sunday.
Tata, who made eight relief appearances for the Tigers last season as a rookie, gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Oakland on Monday for his first major league victory in his first career start.
“He really came through big for us,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He looked like a starting pitcher tonight.”
The 25-year-old right-hander is taking the place in the rotation of the injured Kenny Rogers, who is expected to return from left elbow inflammation next week.
This will be Tata’s first career appearance against the White Sox.
Contreras posted a 10.38 ERA in losing his last seven starts and Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen decided to skip his turn in the rotation. Guillen plans for Contreras to miss only one start, but that may change if Floyd pitches well.
“I guess that’s what they said,” the 24-year-old right-hander told the team’s official Web site. “But I really can’t think about that. (I’m just going to) worry about (Sunday) and whatever happens, happens.”
Floyd has not had much success in his only two starts, which have each come in the second game of day-night doubleheaders.
In his season debut on July 6, he allowed six runs and four home runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 12-0 loss to Minnesota, and on July 24 against the Tigers - his only career start against them - he was tagged for seven runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-7 win.
He gave up five runs and six hits—including three homers—in three innings of relief of a 16-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday, but did not factor in the decision.
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