20 July 2012
These are the Tigers that most experts said would win the AL Central. After taking three out of four games against the Los Angeles Angels, the Tigers now sit just 1.5 games behind the first place White Sox. Detroit hosts Chicago for a three game series over the weekend. If the Tigers take two out of three they will be just 0.5 games back and with a sweep they can take over the division lead. The Tigers, winners of 10 of their last 12 games, won five straight games prior to the All Star break and continued their strong play with five wins in seven games after the break.
Against the Angels, the Tigers offense was good, with the exception of the 13-0 loss in the second game. They scored at least five runs in all three of their wins. Prince Fielder had a good series, with six hits and three RBI. Brennan Boesch added four RBI on three extra-base hits. The Tigers are starting to get contributions from the bottom part of their lineup with Delmon Young, Boesch, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila all hitting much better than earlier in the year. The top of the lineup has been pretty consistent for most of the year.
In the final two games, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer were dominant, each allowing only one earned run. Fister lasted eight innings with 10 strikeouts while Scherzer lasted seven innings and struck out nine. Rick Porcello was shaky in the opening game of the series, allowing five runs over 5.2 innings. But the Tigers rallied to win 8-6 thanks to a late two-run homer by Boesch. Rookie Jacob Turner struggled mightily in the second game, allowing seven earned runs in just two innings. The right-hander served up three homeruns including a three-run shot by Mark Trumbo in the first inning.
The Tigers look to continue their hot streak against the White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit will send out ace Justin Verlander in the opener to face Jake Peavy of Chicago. Detroit will go with Porcello on Saturday versus Chris Sale who leads the American League with a 2.11 ERA in 16 starts. Turner will get a chance to redeem himself on Sunday against Philip Humber. The White Sox just lost three out of four games to the Red Sox in Fenway. It’s only July, but this Tigers-White Sox series should be very competitive and the crowd at Comerica Park should be ready.