Detroit Tigers: Three keys to winning the series at Guarantee Rate Field

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The Detroit Tigers are 1-6 against the Chicago White Sox and have outscored the Tigers 47 to 23. A tall order to fill as they are two games back of the AL Wild Card. Let’s look at how they could win the series.

Detroit Tigers fans on the sight of Tim Anderson cringe as along with Whit Merrifield, have become the most two common Tiger killers. One name that Tigers fans may have forgotten about was Jose Abreu, who is ranked among one of the most active batters who has completely destroyed Tigers pitching.

An absurd stat that stands out against the White Sox. Tigers pitchers have given up 16 home runs against Chicago. Of those 16, 11 were off left-handed pitching with Matthew Boyd giving up 5 home runs, followed by Tyler Alexander with 3, Gregory Soto with 2 and Tarik Skubal just the one. All five Tim Anderson’s home runs against Detroit have come off left-handed pitching.

As a whole, the White Sox have hit Tigers left-handed pitching hard. A slash line of .349/.408/.746 with an OPS of 1.154 at Guaranteed Rate Field this season and have not won a game there yet this season with the biggest assault of power came on August 18th, where the White Sox hit six home runs in one game.

So while I am starting this article with a series of bummer facts, the goal is to see how Detroit can take the series this weekend. Here’s how this could happen.

A new form of Candy

Jeimer Candelario wasn’t batting cleanup the last time he was in Chicago. He was starting to shake off the cobwebs of a bad start in that series. Since that series and batting now 4th in the lineup, Jeimer has hit 5 home runs, batting .400/.468/.700 and has an OPS of 1.168. What helps Jeimer is how he has hit White Sox pitching. Against Lucas Giolito lifetime, he is 5-for-14, good for a .357 batting average, and an OPS of .828.

Of course, this isn’t a one-man here but the Tigers can have a good first pitch strategy in place against Giolito, (batters are hitting.224 when they swing at the first pitch against Lucas) and get ahead of counts on him, they could set up the table for Candelario to drive in some runs.

TBA

With Dallas Keuchel out on the IL with back spams and Chicago starting a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, the starting staff comes in bad shape. Gio Gonzalez is fresh off an IL stint but Detroit will avoid him this weekend. The likely outcome will be Reynaldo Lopez getting the start tomorrow as he got a call up from camp. Lopez has struggled mightily, with an ERA of 8.38. They will be avoiding Dylan Cease and Dane Dunning, who faired well against Detroit this season.

Keep lefties away

As I mentioned earlier, Chicago has hit all pitching well but it’s Tigers lefties they have eaten up.  Matthew Boyd isn’t starting this weekend as Casey Mize, Michael Fulmer, and Spencer Turnbull take the hill. Fulmer pitched three scoreless innings against Chicago earlier this season so if they can get that version of Micheal Fulmer against the Brewers last week, and progress from tonight’s start against Casey Mize, Detroit could take the first two games.

Catching the White Sox’s rotation at this point before they play the Twins next should help Detroit as long as the bats continue to swing like before the Brewers series. Of course, luck too will be needed. Detroit needs to win this series in order to stay within striking distance. It should be an interesting series.

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