The opener of a three-game series between the Chicago White Sox and host Detroit Tigers on Friday features a pitching rematch.
White Sox ace Lucas Giolito (5-5, 3.88 ERA) will oppose rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal (3-7, 4.33) for the second time in less than a week.
Detroit hit three homers off Giolito, two by Eric Haase, in a 4-3 victory at Chicago on Saturday.
Skubal pitched just long enough to qualify for the win, but he continued to rack up strikeouts. He became the second Detroit rookie since 1979 to collect 11 strikeouts, accomplishing it in just five innings. Teammate Michael Fulmer had an 11-strikeout game in 2016.
“I did a good job of getting the fastball not only up but in,” he said. “It’s a tough pitch to handle — up and in.”
Skubal has struck out at least eight batters in each of his last four starts and five of his last six outings. The downside is that he hasn’t pitched more than six innings in a start during that span.
“The strikeouts are really great,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We love the punchouts. But it also drives the pitch count up. We talked afterward and he felt he could go deeper into the outing. Then he looked up and he’s at 103 pitches.”
Skubal owns a 1-1 record with a 6.43 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox.
Giolito has struck out 87 batters in 69 2/3 innings. He fanned nine Tigers on Saturday without issuing a walk, however the long ball has been an ongoing issue. Giolito has given up 13 homers in 12 starts after surrendering eight in the same amount of starts last season.
“I need to make better pitches in those situations,” Giolito said. “Three not well-executed pitches that led to three home runs in the loss.”
Giolito owns a 5-4 record with a 4.45 ERA in 11 career starts against the Tigers.
The White Sox got some bad news on Thursday, as second baseman Nick Madrigal was placed on the 60-day injured list with a tear in his right hamstring. At least in the short term, Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick will replace him at that position.
“We have to really stay on top of how much guys are playing, who is sore, who needs a day off,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “You’ve seen Garcia and Mendick play second — they offer a lot.”
The White Sox have won five of their last seven games and lead the division by 4 1/2 games. Yasmani Grandal hit his 10th homer of the season in a 5-2 win over Toronto on Thursday night. Grandal blasted three homers against Detroit in a four-game series last week.
The Tigers recorded two victories in a three-game home series this week against Seattle.
Catcher Jake Rogers and outfielder Robbie Grossman have homered in each of Detroit’s last two games. Rogers also had a triple in the Tigers’ 8-3 victory on Thursday.
“Jake’s playing with a lot of confidence, you can see it,” Hinch said. “The heartbeat is slow. He’s playing the game clean behind the plate. He provides a lot of stability for us when he contributes on both sides of the ball.”
–Field Level Media