Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers Preview and Pick

Chicago White Sox (37-26) PK, 9 1/2 at Detroit Tigers (26-37), 7 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Zman of

The surprise leaders of the American League’s Central Division visit the pre-season Central favorites when the Chicago White Sox hit the Motor City for the opener of a three-game series vs. the Detroit Tigers Tuesday night.

Sports Bookies are listing this game, which matches starting pitchers Jose Contreras for Chicago against lefty Nate Robertson for Detroit, at right around a pick ’em, with a total of 9.

The White Sox have won seven games in a row after sweeping a four-game series from the Minnesota Twins over the weekend, outscoring the Twinkies 40-15. Meanwhile, Detroit split four home games with Cleveland, but have still lost five of their last seven. So going into this series, Chicago leads the Central by 6 games over second-place Minnesota and 11 games over the fourth-place Tigers.

The White Sox have already taken five of six games from Detroit this season, with the totals going 3-3, as the games have averaged 10.2 total runs. Last year, Chicago took the season series from the Tigers 11 games to seven, while the totals went 8-10, as the games averaged 9.7 total runs.

Chicago is 17-17 on the road this year, and a profitable 41-22 vs. the run line.

Detroit is 14-16 at home this season, and 32-31 vs. the run line.

Over his last three starts, including a solid outing in a win over Kansas City last Thursday, Contreras (6-3, 2.76, 1.04 WHIP ) has given up just four ER and 17 baserunners (hits + walks) over 22 innings of work. The Sox are 8-4 in Contreras’ starts this season, the totals a lop-sided 2-10.

But while the veteran right-hander has been absolutely great so far this year, Detroit has had his number recently. Over the course of his three starts last year vs. the Tigers, and two more already this season, Contreras has given up 27 ER and 52 BR over 29 2/3 IP. The Sox went 2-3 in those games, the totals 4-1.

Over his last three starts, including a rough one out in Oakland last Wednesday, Robertson (3-6, 6.03, 1.53) has allowed 12 ER and 26 BR in 18 1/3 IP. Detroit is 4-8 in Robertson’s start this season, the totals 7-5.

Over the course of his two starts last year vs. the White Sox and one this season, Robertson has allowed 10 ER and 24 BR in 18 IP. The Tigers went 1-2 in those three games, and all three games went over their totals.

Offensively speaking, the White Sox rank 15th in the majors in team batting at .259, 10th in team OBP at .335, 6th in team slugging at .429, are averaging 4.8 runs per game. And Chicago has erupted for 61 runs over its last seven games, six of which have gone over their totals.

Detroit ranks 16th in the majors in batting at .259, 12th in OBP at .333, 15th in slugging at .411, is averaging 4.7 runs per game this year.

The White Sox bullpen has given up three ER and 13 BR in its last five games, covering 11 2/3 IP, while the Tigers pen has allowed seven ER and 17 BR in its last five games, covering 16 2/3 IP.

On the injury front, Detroit slugger Gary Sheffield is still on the DL with a strained oblique.

The totals are 28-35 in White Sox games this year, thanks in part to their ML-leading team ERA of 3.31.

The totals are 28-31 in Tigers games this season, and 15-12 in games played at Comerica Park, which are averaging 11.2 total, 2nd-most among all ML ballparks this year.

Zman’s Pick: The White Sox are streaking. We’ll continue to stick with them as since Manager Ozzie Guillen flamed them back on June 1st, their on fire!