The White Sox head to the Motor City today for a highly anticipated 3-game series with the Detroit Tigers beginning tonight at 6PM on Comcast SportsNet. Heading into the series the Sox are half a game behind the 2nd place Tigers in the Division. The Sox won the first series between the two back in April, winning two of the three games. After losing an embarrassing 13 games to the Tigers in the 2011 season, the Sox hope to fair better against the Tigers this year who remain the team to beat in the Division.
Understanding why the Tigers are such a threat this season is critical when claiming White Sox fan status. Here are 4 big reasons other teams might moan when they see the Tigers on their upcoming schedule:
Prince Fielder – This big man can hammer a baseball! Prince was signed in the off-season for $24 million a year and he has the skills to match his worth! Prince always seems to be at the top of the list in MVP discussions and is known for some unbelievable towering home-runs. His addition to the team gave a great Tigers team an even fiercer line-up.
Justin Verlander – Hands down, the most dominant pitcher in all of baseball last year. This is why he was not only an All-Star, but earned both the AL MVP award and the AL CY Young Award (given to the best pitcher). Luckily for the Sox, WE DON’T HAVE TO FACE HIM! Due to Verlander’s order in the pitching rotation the Sox didn’t have to match up with him in April and get another free pass this weekend!
Miguel Cabrera – in 2011, Cabrera came in 5th in the voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. He is a great hitter who averages 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in almost every season. Since Fielder joined the team, Cabrera has been playing third base and doing a darn good job at it too!
Alex Avila – This is one of the best catchers in baseball. He is coming off a monster year at the plate as well as behind the plate. Among his fellow catchers, he ranked among the top in most batting categories last year. Oh, and he came in 12th in the MVP voting.
Your Take Away Piece: Do you see a trend here? This team is scary. Forget competing against the rest of the league for Most-Valuable Player, try just being the MVP of your team! The White Sox at least will not have to face Delmon Young on Friday, a notorious pain for Sox pitchers. Young is serving a 7-game suspension for being arrested in New York. He apparently yelled anti-Semitic slurs at a group of Chicago tourists, a scuffle ensued, and an intoxicated Young was taken into custody.
Game 1: Friday night’s game pits the White Sox’ AL Pitcher of the Month, Jake Peavy, against talented rookie, Drew Smyly. Smyly has only allowed one run or less in his first 4 starts this season. That streak ends tonight.
Game 2: Saturday’s matinee game features Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd and the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. Floyd came close to throwing a no hitter in his last game and looks to continue his recent dominance.
Game 3: The series wraps up on Sunday as the Sox send Chris Sale to the mound to match Rick Porcello. Sale will be seeking his 4th win of the season as he has traditionally pitched very well against AL Central teams.