The Detroit Tigers faced a three game deficit in the AL Central after dropping the first of a four-game set with the White Sox on Monday. Tuesday night, they faced Jake Peavy for the sixth time this season and gave the ball to Doug Fister to oppose him. Fister had never beaten the White Sox in six career starts.
Chicago jumped ahead early with solo homers from a pair of unlikely sources: Dewayne Wise and Gordon Beckham. Peavy looked dominant early, but ran into trouble in the fifth when Austin Jackson crushed a two-run homer to left-center to tie the game. Two batters later, Miguel Cabrera added a solo shot of his own to give Detroit a lead they wouldn’t give back. It was Cabrera’s 35th of the season and third this year versus Peavy.
Fister used a dazzling curveball and excellent command to stifle the Southsiders on Tuesday, retiring the final 14 batters he faced. Joaquin Benoit ran into trouble in the eighth, his first work in six days, but escaped with a two-run edge intact. Jose Valverde, also working for the first time in six days, allowed an infield single but no damage in the ninth to earn his 29th save.
Chicago is still clearly in the driver’s seat as time remaining in this season is now counted down by mere days. But Detroit will have their two best starters on the mound for the next two games. Max Scherzer has been as good as anyone in baseball over his last eight starts and Justin Verlander is still Justin Verlander, though he has been touched up a couple times recently. To have a real chance at claiming their second consecutive AL Central flag, the Tigers will probably have to win both of the next two games. Chicago will give the ball to Gavin Floyd and Chris Sale in the final two games of the series.
No team in the American League has an easier remaining schedule than Detroit does, but after recent series sweeps at the hands of the Indians and Royals, that’s not exactly a comforting stat.