The Chicago White Sox are trending in the right direction heading into a four-game series at Detroit that begins on Thursday.
Chicago has won seven of its past nine games, though it is still nine games below .500 entering the set against the Tigers.
“It doesn’t matter how many games we’re back, we have to worry about us being prepared to win games. The standings will take care of themselves,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.
Chicago made the most of its four hits and three walks on Wednesday as it shut out the Cleveland Guardians 6-0. The White Sox, who scored five runs in the fourth inning, left only one runner on base.
“Guys can hit the baseball over the wall, so I don’t want guys just giving themselves up hitting a ground ball to the second baseman,” Grifol said. “I want guys driving the ball and get guys over to the deep part of the outfield somewhere. They were focused on that (Wednesday).”
Right-hander Lucas Giolito will start the series opener for the White Sox on Thursday.
Giolito (3-3, 3.62 ERA) has been a workhorse by modern-day standards, going at least six innings in each of his past eight appearances. All but two of those outings were quality starts, including his six-inning performance against Kansas City on Saturday. Giolito limited the Royals to one run and six hits en route to a 5-1 win.
Salvador Perez’s first-inning solo homer was the only run the Royals could muster off Giolito.
“He’s got four pitches that he can go to at any time,” Grifol said. “He commands the fastball up in the zone, which is big.”
Giolito has displayed excellent control this season with a 5.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has only issued 12 walks in 10 starts.
The 28-year-old veteran is quite familiar with the Tigers. Giolito has 19 career starts against them, going 6-6 with a 4.46 ERA. He has had trouble with Detroit shortstop Javier Baez, who owns a .417 average in 24 at-bats against him, collecting five extra-base hits.
He will be opposed by right-hander Alex Faedo, who will be making his fourth start this season. Faedo (0-2, 4.60 ERA) will be seeking his second career victory.
In his latest outing, Faedo was charged with three runs and five hits in five innings at Washington on Saturday. He threw 53 strikes among 72 pitches and took the loss in the 5-2 setback.
“I felt pretty good mechanically,” Faedo said, “and when I’m synced up, the fastball definitely comes out better. That’s something good to work off of. I think we did a good job. There’s a few pitches I have to execute better. But other than that, we had a great plan, I thought we threw it pretty good.”
Faedo, who has only issued one walk in his three starts, endured the worst outing of his young career against the White Sox last June. He surrendered seven runs on nine hits in three-plus innings during a 13-0 loss.
The Tigers are also coming off a victory. They defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-4 on Wednesday take a three-game series and complete a 3-3 road trip.
Detroit got offensive contributions from unexpected sources. Zack Short blasted a pinch-hit, three-run homer, while Jonathan Schoop drove in his first two runs this season with a double.
“He doesn’t play very much,” manager A.J. Hinch said of Short. “His role on this team is a defensive specialist and a spot start here or there. He provides a lot of energy. The guys go crazy when he does stuff.”
–Field Level Media