Game 2012.143: Tigers at White Sox

75-67, 2nd place, 1 game behind CWS.

Scherzer was spectacular again, and with his team leading 16th win, he’s got an outside shot at 20 wins this year.

“So that gets us to tonight. Regular season games don’t get any better. Division rival. Ace v. Young Phenom. Win and we’re tied for first. My plan is progressing as planned, and I fully expect JV to bring it tonight.”

If that looks familiar, it’s because it’s what I wrote 11 days ago. 11 days of downs and a few ups, and we’re right back to playing for first place. Let’s just hope that after a win tonight, we don’t have to go through another 11 days like we just did.

Verlander takes the ball tonight after failing to reach 100 pitches for the first time in 80 starts. He’s been drilled in 2 out of his last 3 starts, with an 8 inning, 1 ER, 11 K performance sandwiched in-between. A win tonight would be his first road win since July 15th. He’s also struggled in his career at Cellular field, posting a 5-6 record and 4.27 ERA. Not to pile on, but the Tigers are 7-9 in JV road games this year.

I think a JV loss would look worse on paper than it really is. 2 games back with 18 games to go isn’t a bad spot. Nevertheless, with his recent struggles, the emotional effect on JV and the team could be a big nail.

Even with a great performance by Verlander, beating the White Sox will be no small accomplishment as starter Chris Sale is 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last 9 starts at Cellular Field. Boesch broke through last night with his first hit against Floyd, and he’s been rewarded with a start against the Lefty Sale. Sale has only given up 3 HRs against lefites all year, but 2 of those were to big BB.

A few notes:

Raburn to the DL with a quadriceps strain.

– 20 of the Tigers final 23 games are against the Central, the Tigers are 9 games over in the division this year (1 game under against everyone else)

Tonight’s First Place Snatching Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Infante, 2B
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Young, DH
6. Peralta, SS
7. Garcia, LF (first time in Left…)
8. Boesch, RF
9. Laird, C