Jeff Samardzija hasn't pitched the way the Chicago White Sox had hoped upon acquiring him in December. Now he's looking to move past one of the worst outings of his career.
The Detroit Tigers will try to ensure that doesn't happen after ending their longest losing streak in a decade.
While Samardzija looks to regroup at U.S. Cellular Field, the Tigers will try to win back-to-back games for only the second time in almost three weeks on Sunday.
After picking him up in a six-player deal with Oakland, Chicago (25-29) envisioned Samardzija as a steady No. 2 behind ace Chris Sale after he posted a 2.99 ERA in 2014.
Instead, the right-hander has been wildly inconsistent over his 11 starts. After going 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his previous three, he allowed nine runs and 12 hits over five innings in Tuesday's 15-2 loss at Texas.
"The ball was up, and they took advantage of balls that stayed on the plate in," Samardzija said. "I thought we had some success away, and every time we got the ball in, it wasn't in far enough."
Samardzija (4-3, 4.68 ERA) is on pace for his worst ERA since becoming a full-time starter in 2012 after giving up nine runs for the fourth time in his career. He's particularly struggled early in games, yielding 16 runs and a MLB-high 23 hits while allowing opponents to hit .426 in the first inning.
That might not be an issue against a Detroit team that hasn't scored in the first inning in its last 10 games.
Samardzija has gone 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in four home starts and is 1-0 with a 1.80 mark in two meetings with the Tigers. He surrendered two runs over seven innings in a 5-2 win at U.S. Cellular on May 5.
The Tigers batted .214 while averaging 2.8 runs during an eight-game skid before Miguel Cabrera homered in a five-run fifth inning in Saturday's 7-1 win that ended their worst slide since September 2005.
"It felt like everyone was exhaling a little bit," manager Brad Ausmus said.
Josh Wilson matched a career high with four hits, while James McCann and Jose Iglesias each had three as part of the team's 18-hit attack. Iglesias has gone 5 for 9 over the first two games.
Yoenis Cespedes is 4 for 9 in this series, though his only hit in six at-bats off Samardzija left the yard.
Detroit (29-28) hopes to build on its offensive effort while dealing Chicago its seventh loss in nine home games.
Since winning his first four starts, Alfredo Simon (5-3, 2.97 ERA) has one victory over his last six. He took a shutout into the seventh inning Tuesday before it slipped away in a 5-3 home loss to Oakland.
The right-hander allowed four runs while issuing five walks over 6 1-3 innings in his first start off the bereavement list following the death of his father in the Dominican Republic.
"For a guy that's been dealing with off-the-field family stuff, it's an unbelievable outing for him," McCann told MLB's official website. "That's all you can ask from him in that situation."
In his only career start versus Chicago, Simon gave up three runs and walked four over five innings in a 7-6 road loss May 6. Conor Gillaspie, who did not play against lefty David Price on Saturday, hit a solo shot off Simon.