Posted July 09, 2013 on AP on Fox
Justin Verlander was woeful early in his career against the Chicago White Sox, but he has dominated them over the last four seasons. He and the Detroit Tigers will get their first look at the White Sox in 2013 in the opener of a three-game set at Comerica Park on Tuesday night. Verlander (9-5, 3.54 ERA) went 2-9 with a 5.90 ERA in his first 14 starts against Chicago from 2006-09. Those days must seem like a distant memory now, with the right-hander going 12-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last 13 outings versus the White Sox. That includes a 7-1 mark with a 2.25 ERA in eight home starts. It could be another long night for Chicago (34-52) as its four available regulars with the most experience against Verlander have enjoyed little success. Alexei Ramirez is 11 for 50, Alex Rios is 8 for 33, Gordon Beckham is 5 for 28 and Adam Dunn 3 for 20 with two homers. Verlander avoided his first five-start winless stretch in five seasons with seven scoreless innings in an 11-1 victory at Toronto on Thursday. He said that pitching coach Jeff Jones helped him fix a problem with his shoulder angle. "I feel like Jeff and I have identified what was kind of the kink in the chain," Verlander said. "It's just a matter making that feel comfortable, making my delivery feel comfortable the right way." These AL Central rivals have yet to meet since battling down to the final week of 2012 for the division title. Detroit (49-39) took 12 of 18 meetings last year, including eight of 10 after the All-Star break to win the division by three games. There likely won't be a race involving these teams this year with the last-place White Sox trailing the first-place Tigers by 14 games. Chicago dropped its fourth straight Monday, 8-2 to the Cubs. The White Sox have lost seven in a row in Detroit. The Tigers took three of four from second-place Cleveland to move 3 1/2 games up in the Central, winning 4-2 in 10 innings Monday. Victor Martinez's two-run double was the difference. "We came in and had a very good series against a very good team, but I'm not really concerned about the standings," manager Jim Leyland said. "Of course, I'd rather leave here up 3 1/2 games than up 1 1/2 games. But trust me, the Indians are not going anywhere, and we're not going anywhere, I don't think." Miguel Cabrera is 19 for 40 during a 10-game hitting streak at home. He brings his major league-leading averages of .364 overall and .431 against left-handers into a potentially tricky matchup against lefty Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.69). Cabrera is 1 for 5 against Quintana, who struck out a career-high 11 over seven scoreless innings of a 3-2 home win over Baltimore on Thursday. It was Quintana's seventh straight game in which he didn't get a decision. "The best thing that I can do for the team is give the team a quality start, give the team the opportunity to win and give a quality outing," Quintana said through a translator.
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