Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/20/12
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There's a reason Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland downplays Detroit's "showdown series" with the first-place Chicago White Sox this weekend.

He should.

It's a three-game set and even if one team should sweep the other it will not seriously damage the chances of the other to finish first in the AL Central or be a threat to earn a Wild Card berth.

There will be hoopla, of course, as the top two teams in the division play a second-half series.

"It's July. So however it turns out, whether we do well or don't do well," Leyland reminds, "it's not going to be the end of the world. Hopefully the fans are going to be into it. That part's all good.

"We just have to continue to play good baseball, pitch well, and hit well. The rest will take care of itself."

Detroit has won 10-of-13 going back two series before the All-Star break and has perked up in those facets of the game it was lagging in earlier.

Solid starts, for the most part, from Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister have fueled the surge and improved hitting, especially from the bottom five in the batting order, has let the Tigers mask the so-so starts turned in on occasion by Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly and Jacob Turner.

"We've looked like a decent team recently and that's one reason why," Leyland said. "The one night we didn't do too well we didn't pitch well.

"We took advantage of some timely hitting and good pitching. You need combinations like that to win."

Detroit will open with its ace, Verlander, and close with the rookie Turner, who got pounded in his last start.

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