In order to separate themselves from the pack in the American League Central, the Detroit Tigers have to take advantage of opportunities like the one in front of them starting Tuesday - a three-game home series against the struggling Chicago White Sox.
The Tigers have won six of seven after Victor Martinez's two-run double in the 10th lifted them to a 4-2 win over Cleveland on Monday. Detroit leads the division by 3 1/2 games over the Indians.
The White Sox are mired in a four-game losing streak and are in last place in the AL Central after an 8-2 loss to the crosstown rival Cubs on Monday. Chicago has managed a total of six runs during the skid as the offense continues to rank near the bottom of the American League in most categories. The Tigers, meanwhile, have averaged 7.1 runs over their past seven contests and boast one of the top lineups in the majors with third baseman Miguel Cabrera leading the way with a .364 average, 28 home runs and 90 RBIs.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, WCIU (Chicago), Fox Sports Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.69 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Justin Verlander (9-5, 3.54)
The 24-year-old Quintana is coming off one of the best starts of his career, as he struck out 11 and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings against Baltimore on Thursday, but he had to settle for his seventh straight no-decision. The left-hander hasn't won since May 21 against Boston. Quintana is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against the Tigers, both last season.
Verlander had a couple of subpar outings in June but is back on track now, as he shut out Toronto for seven innings his last time out to earn his first win since June 7. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was not good during the rough patch, but he began to round into form against the Blue Jays. Verlander is 14-10 with a 3.93 ERA in 27 starts against the White Sox, and he has won 12 of his last 13 decisions against them since 2009.
1. Cabrera went 0-for-3 on Monday, only the 15th time in 87 games he has not had a hit.
2. White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham is 12-for-26 over his past seven games, but he is just 5-for-28 with seven strikeouts against Verlander.
3. Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta is riding a seven-game hitting streak, but he is batting only .250 over that span.