Baseball

Series Preview – White Sox at Tigers: Round 4, FIGHT

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Records: White Sox 66-86  Tigers 45-107

Game Times: Fri 6:10/Sat 5:10/Sun 12:10

TV: Fri/Sat NBCSN Sun WGN

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I don’t hate the Tigers anymore. I really used to, back in the early part of this decade. Much like my hatred for the Vancouver Canucks and Red Wings in hockey it’s just sort of fizzled out, leaving behind a feeling of indifference bordering on pity.

The Tigers are a bad team, perhaps even historically so. With their current .420 winning percentage (heh) the Tigers fall 3rd on the list of worst teams ever since the league went to 162 games in 1961. The other two teams? Last year’s Orioles and the Tigers again in 2003. Not exactly wonderful company to be in. They’ve already past the 2003 version of themselves by 2 games, and need 2 more to tie Baltimore which seems likely but by no means a guarantee.

Detroit already set a team record this past week by losing 17 consecutive games to Cleveland this season. They won the second meeting between the two teams back on April 10th 4-1, then lost 17 in a row to them to finish the season 1-18 setting the mark in the modern era for record against a divisional opponent.

The Tigers got this bad by basically fielding a team full of less than 1 WAR players and Nick Castellanos, who they then flipped to the Cubs at the deadline as he proceeded to go on a tear the likes of never seen in Detroit. They’re dead last in the league in hitting, and the only team that has had a negative WAR production from their offense. The second worst team is the Marlins, and even they have gotten 2.3 WAR out of their hitters, compared to the -1.5 for the Tigers. If you look up the top hitters by WAR on the Tigers, only 2 players are worth more than 1, and that’s Niko Goodrum (who is out with a groin strain) and Victor Reyes. So thankfully Dylan Covey isn’t scheduled to go during the series, as you don’t wanna let an opponent up off the mat when they’re down.

The pitching staff has actually not been as awful as the hitters, currently 10th in the AL out of 15 teams, so that’s an improvement. They’ve also produced 1100% more WAR than the offense, currently sitting at 10.1 for the season. Matthew Boyd has had a solid season thus far, posting an 8-11 record with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He features a solid 4 seam fastball and a plus slider which he uses as his punchout pitch. Boyd gets a lot of swinging strikes with it, almost 36% of the time.

After Boyd it’s Spencer Turnbull (who the Sox will miss), then rookie Tyler Alexander who was called up back in June and had his first start against the Sox, in which he went 5 innings and gave up 2 with 4 Ks in a no-decision. The kid has pitched fairly well since then, going 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA and striking out 27 in 6 starts. He was relegated to long relief for a time during August but is now back starting and will go head to head with Nova Saturday.

As for the Sox, the story continues to be the production of The Future™ in the top half of the lineup. Tim Anderson continues his quest for the AL batting title and sits .006 in front of DJ LeMahieu. Right behind LeMahieu is the outfielder the Sox didn’t want in the off-season, Michael Brantley. Hard charging a few behind him is last year’s favorite bust declaration by Sox Twitter Yoan Moncada, who is tearing the shit out of the ball in September to the tune of a .460/.500/.667 slash line.

Taking the mound for the Pale Hose will be Dylan Cease, Ivan Nova and Reynaldo Lopez who basically comprise the only starts worth watching for the rest of the season. Cease should find the waters a bit calmer against the moribund Tigers offense, and maybe help build some confidence in his fastball location.

On paper this should be an easy series for the Sox, but nothing on paper has ever worked out that way for Rick Hahn and company. I just want a batting title for Timmy, and this pitching staff should help with that goal.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

 

 

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