The playoffs are out of the picture for the Tigers and White Sox, but as the saying goes, “the show must go on.” With Detroit and Chicago sitting in third and fourth place in the AL Central, the season has become about getting young players reps and seeing what pieces will be kept around next season. Both sides have the chance to do that tonight as they start a three-game series in Chicago, and we’ll preview the opening game before going over my play on the total.
At risk of losing their sixth straight game and being swept by the Yankees, the Tigers gritted out an extra-innings win after losing the lead in the 9th. Matt Manning delivered a strong start for the team and held New York scoreless over six innings, while his offense tacked three runs on the board in the fifth courtesy of two RBI singles and a Zach Short solo home run.
After the Yankees knotted the game at three in the top of the ninth, Detroit immediately responded in the 10th, scoring the winning run on a throwing error to give them a 4-3 victory. Now, with the losing streak snapped, Detroit will open this divisional series with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound. The lefty took a loss his last time on the mound after allowing four earned runs on five hits in 4.2 innings.
The last time Rodriguez took on the White Sox was back on May 28th, prior to hitting the injured list. Now the Tigers lefty faces them again tonight as they are fresh off a 10-5 win over the Orioles. The White Sox dropped the first two games of the series, so they avoided the sweep, thanks to a big day from their offense. Luis Robert Jr., Eloy Jimenez, and Andrew Vaughn went a combined 8-15 in the game with four extra-base hits and four RBIs.
Toeing the slab for the White Sox this evening will be right-hander Touki Toussaint. In his most recent outing, Toussaint earned his second win in a White Sox uniform by throwing five scoreless innings. The five shut-out innings marked the first outing the righty has had since July 28th in which he didn’t allow at least three earned runs.
The total for this game is currently set at 8.5, and I’ll be taking the over for my play. Neither Toussaint nor Rodriguez has been consistent over their last three outings, and both bullpens have been even worse. Chicago and Detroit’s bullpens also have ERA’s greater than five over their last month, and the White Sox have the 8th highest xFIP in that span, while the Tigers have the 9th.
Over the last 30 days, the Tigers offense is hitting .258 and ranks 7th in wRC+, 7th in wOBA, and 6th in OPS against right-handed pitching on the road. Their matchup, Toussaint, is not only in the 32nd percentile in hard hit percentage and 13th percentile in expected ERA, but he also has a 4.16 xFIP at home and 5.43 xFIP in the second half of the season.
Chicago’s offense has been strong against lefties in that same 30-day span, as they rank 7th in wRC+, 5th in OPS, and 4th in SLG. Eduardo Rodriguez is no easy matchup, but the White Sox offense should be able to get to him as the lefty has a 4.51 xFIP for the second half of the season, and his batting average against has increased every month this season, reaching a new high in August at .263.