The Chicago White Sox want to finish off their three-game road series against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday with a second straight victory. But after an injury-plagued spring and more bad news in Friday’s opener, they would also like to depart without another key ailment.
Ace Lucas Giolito sustained an abdominal strain during the fourth inning on Opening Day. Another veteran starter, Lance Lynn, is sidelined for at least a month due to a knee injury that necessitated surgery.
“Some guys will get tested,” said Giolito, who is expected to miss two starts. “There’s a lot of talent there. It’s all about the preparation for these guys, going out there and knowing how good they are, having that confidence and executing. I think they can do it, 100 percent.”
Michael Kopech will start on Sunday, but he probably won’t be on the mound too long. He threw only four spring training innings. Last season, the right-hander made 44 appearances but only four starts. He had a 4-3 record and 3.50 ERA while striking out 103 batters in 69 1/3 innings.
Kopech is 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA in three career outings (two starts) against the Tigers.
“We have quality people that can pitch,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said. “You want to see these guys rise to the occasion, and their attitude is great.”
The White Sox are also pushing through the first month without third baseman Yoan Moncada, who strained an oblique during camp.
Outfielder AJ Pollock left the Saturday game during the third inning due to right hamstring tightness he felt running to first base. Pollock, who already was scheduled to leave the club on paternity leave after the Sunday game, downplayed the injury postgame, saying it was “just a little bit of a tweak.”
La Russa added, “He’s going to have four days off, at least.”
On Sunday, the White Sox will get back their dynamic leadoff hitter, as shortstop Tim Anderson will return from the two-game, league-imposed suspension he served for bumping an umpire last season.
“I challenged him before (Saturday’s) game,” La Russa said. “He saw all the plays. I gave him a quiz. He was watching. We’re glad to get him back (Sunday).”
Detroit will send out left-hander Tarik Skubal, who started 29 of his 31 appearances last season and wound up with an 8-12 record and 4.34 ERA. He struck out 164 batters in 149 1/3 innings. In four career starts against the White Sox, he is 2-1 with a 6.50 ERA.
The Tigers beat the White Sox in the opener 5-4 on Friday with two ninth-inning runs. Chicago bounced back on Saturday, winning 5-2.
The White Sox were up 2-0 entering the sixth. Detroit manager A.J. Hinch left in his starter Casey Mize, who gave up a leadoff single and a two-run homer to Yasmani Grandal before departing.
“We just didn’t do enough to win this game and they did,” Hinch said. “It had nothing to do with Casey. Just had to do with the way the game went.”
Hinch said he plans to work in his bench players over the next few days so they don’t get rusty. Tucker Barnhart and Eric Haase split catching duties in the first two games. Hinch is looking to give outfielder Victor Reyes, utilityman Harold Castro and catcher Dustin Garneau their first starts of the season, perhaps as soon as Sunday.
“I’m targeting dates for these guys,” Hinch said.
–Field Level Media