The Detroit Tigers swept a three-game series from the White Sox in Chicago last weekend. The third- and fourth-place teams in the American League Central Division will play another three-game series this weekend with Detroit as the host.
The Tigers (64-76) lead the season series 6-4. Detroit needs only one win to clinch the season series. The Tigers have already clinched the season series against the other three teams in the division, including the first-place Minnesota Twins.
Detroit is coming off a 10-3 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday that featured a pair of Spencer Torkelson homers.
Rookie right-hander Reese Olson (3-6, 4.65 ERA) will start the series opener on Friday. The 24-year-old delivered the best performance of his young career on Saturday, tossing seven scoreless innings and limiting the White Sox to four hits. He also didn’t walk a batter, though he only recorded one strikeout.
It was a stark contrast to his previous start against the New York Yankees, when he walked four and struck out a career-best 10 batters.
“Reese is going to be a really quality pitcher at this level,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s learning how to navigate innings. He had an ultra-aggressive team on the other side and he continued to throw quality pitches and keep the ball on the ground. He’s calm in the competition, which is important. And he’s got weapons, which is even more important. And he’s unafraid.”
Olson also made his career debut against the White Sox, going five innings and giving up two runs and two hits while striking out six in five innings on June 2, a game Chicago won 3-0.
Olson’s mound opponent will once again be Mike Clevinger (6-7, 3.90). The right-hander endured his worst outing of the season on Saturday, giving up eight hits and 12 runs in four innings during Detroit’s 10-0 victory.
Clevinger had been placed on waivers and gone unclaimed prior to that start. He didn’t use that as an excuse for his poor outing.
“I’m still just ready to take the ball every fifth day,” Clevinger said. “That outside noise is not something really … obviously I saw. I even talked to (assistant general manager) Jeremy (Haber), I talked to (manager Pedro Grifol), talked to (pitching coach Ethan) Katz about it. I understood even the reasoning behind it. I’m just worried about trying to put up results and numbers on that field.”
That was one of the few times the Tigers have solved Clevinger. He tossed five scoreless innings against Detroit on June 2. For his career, Clevinger is 8-3 with a 2.43 ERA in 15 outings, including 14 starts.
The White Sox (54-86) ended a five-game skid with a 6-4 victory over Kansas City on Wednesday. Chicago has blasted six homers in the last two games.
“Stay away from the ground,” Grifol said. “There’s no money in the ground. We have to put the ball up in the air. Crooked numbers happen when you put the ball in the air and you have that kind of pop.”
Andrew Vaughn supplied three hits, including a homer, in each of the last two games. Yoan Moncada has also homered in back-to-back contests.
Shortstop Tim Anderson’s status for the weekend is uncertain. He was scratched from Wednesday’s game due to neck stiffness.
–Field Level Media