Know Your Enemy: Detroit Tigers
After losing 19-0 to the Brewers this week, the Tigers made a ton of moves. Jordan Zimmermann is back after a stint on the 45-day IL. The Tigers grabbed the contract of Nick Ramirez, who's been spending 2020 at the alternate side in Toledo after being their best reliever in 2019. JaCoby Jones and Iván Nova were transferred to the 10-and-45-day ILs, respectively, while John Schreiber and Kyle Funkhouser were optioned to Toledo to make room.
The Tigers are going to try and avoid the same meltdown they had the last time they faced the White Sox. Detroit split its doubleheader with the Cards on Thursday but have allowed 12 or more runs in the last two of three games. The Tigers managed to hold the Cards to three runs in the second game of the doubleheader, but it's entirely possible they repeat it this weekend (after all, the Tigers did lose 19-0 to the Brewers).
Enemy's current record
The Tigers are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. With the changes to this year's postseason, the Tigers are fighting to make a bid. They're currently two games behind the Yankees for that final wild card spot and given the option, the Sox probably wouldn't say no to either team given how terrible the Yankees are this season. There are 15 games left on the Tigers schedule and all are against the AL Central. In order to realistically stay in the hunt for that final spot, they're going to have to take this weekend's series.
The Tigers are 17-38 in their last 55 series openers, so the odds are in favor of the White Sox (who are 9-1 in their last 10 home games).
Tonight, it's Tigers pitching prospect Casy Mize vs. Lucas Giolito. Mize currently has a 0-1 record with a 6.75 ERA. Last time he faced the White Sox, he had seven strikeouts over 4 ⅓ innings. Most recently, he allowed three runs on five hits through four innings against the Twins. Meanwhile, Giolito has a 1.71 ERA with 31 strikeouts during his past three home starts.
Saturday's matchup brings us Michael Fulmer vs. TBD. Fulmer's lacking a breaking pitch, as he hasn't been able to find his slider again post-Tommy John. He's been inconsistent in seven starts and 19 ⅔ innings, boasting a 0-1 record with a 8.24 ERA. TBD in Chicago's case is most likely ... Reynaldo López, taking Dallas Keuchel's spot in the rotation for a turn.
Sunday is Spencer Turnbull vs. TBD. Earlier this year, Turnbull threw 60 pitches over two innings (four walks, three runs allowed) vs. the White Sox. Most recently, he had six scoreless innings against the Brewers on Tuesday in Detroit. Mr. TBD for Chicago on Sunday could be a bullpen amalgamation, perhaps kicked off by Gio González.
Keys to the series
Pitching is going to have to be on point this weekend. Giolito is 5-2 vs. the Tigers over his career, and Keuchel's injury brought back López to the rotation. Detroit is going to make this weekend closer than a lot of people think, especially with its fight for that final wild-card spot.