Detroit (49-46) at Chicago White Sox (46-48)
When: Thursday, July 21st 2016
Where: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:10 ET | TV: CSN Chicago, FSN Detroit
The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox open a four-game series Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field and both teams are looking to stay close to the Cleveland Indians in the A.L. Central standings. The Tigers begin the night 7.5 games back while the White Sox are 10 back after dropping two of three in Seattle. Chicago blew late inning leads in both those contests, but Todd Frazier hit a homerun in all three contests and now has 28 on the season – tied with Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo. The Tigers will try to get their bats moving again after scoring just four total runs while losing two of three home games to the AL-worst Minnesota Twins. Second baseman Ian Kinsler is 8-for-24 with three homers since the All-Star Break and hit his 36th career leadoff homer for the lone run in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Twins. Miguel Cabrera had two hits in Wednesday’s loss but has just one extra-base hit (a double) and two RBIs in July. Chicago LF Melky Cabrera is currently riding a five-game hitting streak and is 9-for-21 in that span.
Pitchers: Tigers – Mike Pelfrey (2-9, 4.95 ERA) | White Sox – James Shields (4-11, 5.10)
Mike Pelfrey makes his 19th start for Detroit and was pitching well until his last outing when he was rocked by Kansas City for five runs in just 1.2 innings. He allowed one run in each of his previous two contests, but failed to pick up the victory in either. Pelfrey gave up two runs and five hits in six innings while beating the White Sox on June 4th. He is 1-5 with a 5.81 ERA lifetime against the White Sox. Pelfrey is 0-6 in nine road starts this season despite a respectable 3.53 ERA.
James Shields had a disastrous start when he was acquired by the White Sox in June. He allowed 22 runs in 9.2 innings covering his first three starts, but has turned things around since. Shields was great in his last outing when he gave up one run and two hits in eight innings but suffered the loss in a 1-0 decision against the Los Angeles Angels. He has a 1.91 ERA over his last four starts – allowing two or fewer runs in each. Shields is 7-6 with a 4.36 ERA in 20 career starts against the Tigers.
Shields has pitched well enough lately to make him a favorite here tonight and I have to agree. Pelfrey has one win in 10 career starts against Chicago and is winless on the road this year. I’ll lay the buck-thirty on Chicago tonight.
Pick: White Sox -130