The third-place Detroit Tigers swept a doubleheader from the second-place team in the American League Central on Wednesday. Now, they face a weekend series against the first-place club.
The Chicago White Sox will visit Detroit for a three-game weekend set that begins on Friday night. The White Sox hold an 8-2 lead in the season series.
On Wednesday, the Tigers posted 9-4 and 7-1 victories at Cleveland, the first time Detroit swept a doubleheader from the Indians since 1986.
That allowed Detroit to finish the month of June with a 14-13 record. The Tigers had an identical record in May. Overall, they are nine games under .500, but there’s a growing feeling of optimism.
“It’s fantastic just to have the winning months,” catcher/outfielder Eric Haase said. “It seems like there’s been a cloud kind of following us around. But we’re getting our footing now and climbing up slowly but surely.”
Tigers manager AJ Hinch hopes that winning months won’t come as a surprise any longer for a franchise that has undergone an extensive rebuild.
“The expectation for us to have winning months has to be the norm,” Hinch said. “We need that to be the goal. We need six good, winning months to make it to the playoffs.
“The mindset is good here. These guys care. We proved it in back-to-back months that we can be winners.”
Detroit will have its new ace, right-hander Casey Mize, on the mound Friday night. Mize (5-4, 3.46 ERA) hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in his past 11 starts. He held the Houston Astros to one run on six hits in six innings on Saturday.
The Tigers won that game 3-1, ending the Astros’ 11-game winning streak.
“Casey is a really good pitcher, and it’s never a surprise to me when he finds a way to beat an opponent,” Hinch said.
Mize has faced the White Sox twice this season, losing both starts. In his last outing against them, Mize gave up three solo home runs in seven innings on June 3.
In four career starts against Chicago, Mize is 0-2 with a 4.37 ERA.
Veteran right-hander Lance Lynn (7-3, 2.06 ERA) will start Friday for the White Sox. He tossed three scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday before the game was suspended by rain. He has gone winless in his past four starts, with his last victory coming in the same June 3 game that Mize pitched.
Lynn is 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA in seven career starts against Detroit.
The White Sox have won four in a row, and they finished off a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Thursday with an 8-5 triumph. They have scored 35 runs during the winning streak.
“This club is resilient, relentless,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said.
Catcher Zack Collins has driven in seven runs in his past three games, and he hit his third home run of the season Thursday.
“Sweeping them, that was huge for us,” Collins said of the Twins. “It’s definitely good to get those three wins against those guys.”
Chicago likely will be without third baseman Yoan Moncada this weekend. He left the Thursday game after the third inning due to a bruised right hand. Moncada has hit two of his five homers this season against the Tigers.
–Field Level Media