CHICAGO -- Anibal Sanchez's start for the Detroit Tigers in their series finale against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon could be pivotal in two ways.
The Tigers are thick in the wild-card race. And Sanchez could be pitching to keep his spot in the rotation.
After falling 2-0 to the White Sox on Tuesday night, Detroit trails the Cleveland Indians by 4 1/2 games for the American League Central lead and the Baltimore Orioles by a game for the second wild card. The Tigers (75-63) will try for a series victory against the White Sox (66-72) on Wednesday.
The Tigers activated right-hander Jordan Zimmermann from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, and manager Brad Ausmus refrained from saying who will exit the rotation when Zimmermann returns. Zimmermann is expected to start Saturday against Baltimore. He was on the DL since Aug. 5 for an aggravation of his previous neck injury. He is 9-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 16 starts this season.
Meanwhile, Sanchez has struggled. The right-hander is 7-13 with a 5.70 ERA this season. Another possibility to leave the rotation and move to the bullpen is Matt Boyd (5-3, 3.89 ERA), who allowed two runs in seven innings Tuesday against the White Sox.
"Nobody is out for now," Ausmus said before Tuesday's game.
In his last start, Sanchez allowed three unearned runs in five innings Friday against Kansas City. He has one victory in his last six starts, allowing 17 earned runs in 36 2/3 innings. He is 3-6 with a 4.96 ERA in 12 career games against the White Sox.
The Tigers won the series opener 5-3 in 11 innings on Monday before they were shut out for the 10th time this season Tuesday.
Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler will likely remain out of the starting lineup until Friday when the Tigers face the Orioles in their series opener. He injured his right ring finger fielding a hard groundball Sunday in Kansas City. The injury mainly affects Kinsler's throwing, Ausmus said. Kinsler is available to pinch run.
"He's still got a little bleeding under the fingernail," Ausmus said. "We'll see how he is (Wednesday). We'll give him that off day (Thursday), too."
Left-hander Jose Quintana (11-10, 3.05 ERA) is scheduled to start for the White Sox on Wednesday. In his last start Thursday against Minnesota, Quintana allowed seven runs and seven hits -- including two home runs -- in five innings. It was the first time he gave up seven or more runs for the first time since April 19.
"It was a bad night for me," Quintana told reporters. "I'll turn the page, and that's it. I'll try to just keep going with the next one."
Quintana is 5-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 career starts against the Tigers. He is trying to add to his career-high victory total of 11. Quintana's ERA of 3.05 ranks second in the American League, just ahead of his teammate Chris Sale (3.07) and behind Toronto's Aaron Sanchez (2.92).