Series Preview: Detroit Tigers

As opposed to past opponents of the White Sox this month, the Detroit Tigers have a very weak pulse as they have lost 10 of their last 13 and are already 25 games under .500.

Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Record: 10-35, .222, 16.5 GB (AL Central)
Place: U.S. Cellular Field
Time & TV: Game 1: 7:05 p.m. (WCIU); Game 2: 6:05 p.m. (FSN); Game 3: 1:05 p.m. (FSN)
2002 Record vs Sox: 7-12
2003 Record vs Sox: 1-5

The Tigers biggest offensive threat is Bobby Higginson with a .272 average. Detroit has only two batters over .250, and only two more regulars over .200. The Tigers are led in the pitching department with starter Nate Cornejo (3-3, 3.23) and reliever Chris Spurling (0-0, 2.95). Only three of the Detroit starter's have more strikeouts than walks. When on base, you can run as they have only thrown out 22% of base stealers.

WHO'S HOT (Last 7 days)
Carlos Pena, 1B: .385, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .808 SLG, 21 total bases, 2 2B
--Pena, a .234 hitter so far this year, lit up the Indians for three homers in one game in their last series. Of course, the Tigers lost that game. Pena had an opportunity late in the game to tie it, but failed to reach base.

WHO'S NOT (Last 7 days)
Shane Halter, 2B: . 067, 1 hit in 15 at-bats, 6 K, 1 GIDP, 2 E
--Halter, to sum it up, has not had a good week. He hasn't seen the ball well at the plate or at second base. Halter is also batting under .200 against lefties.

Game #1:
Mike Maroth (0-9, 5.73, 29 K) vs. Jon Garland (2-4, 6.10, 20 K)
--Mike Maroth is one of the better 0-9 pitchers there is. Earlier this year he had a no-hitter deep into a game until the Tiger defense let him down. Opponents are batting .259 off the 25-year-old lefty. However, Maroth's ERA has steadily been rising.

Game #2:
Gary Knotts (1-3, 4.81, 18 K) vs. Esteban Loaiza (7-1, 1.99, 48 K)
--Knotts has been a somewhat dependable starter this year in all but three of his starts, but has not been dependable getting his pitches over the plate. Knotts has the same number of walks as strikeouts, 18, and has given up a homer in nearly every game. Knotts has been hit as of late, only lasting 4 1/3 innings, with seven hits, five runs and four walks in his last start.

Game #3:
Adam Bernero (0-6, 5.87, 25 K) vs. Danny Wright (0-2, 6.59,7 K)
--Bernero is catching up to Mike Maroth in the loss column with six of his own. His starts have progressively gotten worse and has failed to pitch a game without a walk. He has also given up no fewer than five hits and two runs in every start. Opponents are batting .285 off this finesse pitcher.

Quality pitching and fielding - The Sox need good starts from all three pitchers, even though it is Detroit, especially from Garland who will have the threat of a demotion until he shows consistency. And the defense needs to do its part as the Sox defense has usually reflected the outcome of the game.

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