Remember when Justin Verlander used to be really good? Well, he has been really good for the Tigers, especially over the last few months. He needed to be good, and has to continue to be good for his team. You can argue that Michael Fulmer and Verlander have been the saviors of this Tigers club. Fulmer and Verlander have combined to save the pitching rotation for the Tigers, I do know that much. Jordan Zimmermann was supposed to play the role of Fulmer this season, but he was injured, and it was Fulmer’s job to turn it up on the mound. So, you imagine, if Zimmermann was healthy, the Tigers would have had a deadly 1-2-3 punch of Verlander, Fulmer, and Zimmermann.
I don’t think there would have been any debate right now whether the Tigers would be sitting comfortably. They would have been right there with the Indians and in a better position for a wildcard. Currently, they are 2 games up on the Astros. The ‘Stros beat the Indians last night, so that means the Tigers move up a game to 4.5 games back in the division, but everything remains the same for the wildcard.
The White Sox had their hot start, but it ultimately fizzled out, and they regressed to pretty well where everyone thought they would be before the season started. At 65-72, they’re 14.5 games back of 1st in the American League Central. They looked like they were going to be the surprise team of 2016, but it ended up being another team in the same division, the Cleveland Indians. After the Cavaliers won the NBA Champions, the Indians are trying to duplicate their success on the diamond.
The Cavs were underdogs against the Warriors, and the Indians will probably be regarded as underdogs against whoever they face in the postseason. There is certainly this notion of no one believing in them. The Tigers and White Sox square off today, after JV and the Tigers defeated the White Sox in extras yesterday afternoon.
Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox
Matt Boyd (5-2, 4.00 ERA) vs Miguel Gonzalez (2-6, 4.05 ERA)
This might have been where Jordan Zimmermann steps in to follow up Verlander, but as it is, Zimmermann is getting knocked around in rehab. Matt Boyd has been serviceable for the Tigers. If he and Daniel Norris combined to put up garbage on the mound, they would not be looking at the postseason right now. So, in a sense they do get some credit for keeping everything together without breaking. Boyd comes into Chicago with a 4.00 ERA, and has been decent recently, posting a 3.38 ERA in his last three outings.
Opposite Boyd will be Miguel Gonzalez, who be making his first start since August 8th. Gonzalez lasted only 1 inning before he left the contest with a groin injury. He made one rehab start in AAA ball in Charlotte and he left a lot to be desired. If there is any silver lining, he did strikeout seven batters, but that will get overlooked when he allowed 6 earned runs in 4.1 innings of work. It seems like a dicey proposition coming back versus this loaded Detroit offense. This is a make or break for the Tigers, they need to keep the foot on the pedal and plow forward. I like the Tigers and the price their getting in this game.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN -106