The Detroit Tigers will aim for a three-game sweep when they square off against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Detroit (35-37) has equaled a season high with a four-game winning streak and will look to climb within one game of .500 for the first time since April 25. The Tigers have outscored opponents 19-11 during their streak.
The head-to-head matchup between the American League Central rivals has been wildly lopsided this season. Detroit has won seven of eight games against Chicago, including five straight meetings in the White Sox’s park.
Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy (2-1, 3.55 ERA) will try to keep the winning streak alive. The 31-year-old has walked nine and struck out 27 in 38 innings this season. This will be his 11th game and seventh start.
In 19 games (one start) against the White Sox, Hardy is 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA. He is coming off a quality start against the Minnesota Twins in which he allowed two runs and three hits in six innings.
Hardy credited his cutter-slider hybrid pitch for much of his recent success.
“I always go off feel,” Hardy told the Detroit News. “I don’t want to say that pitch kept them off balance, but every time I threw it, even if they were looking for it, it wasn’t a good swing. I don’t have a power fastball Adidas Jakub Voracek Jersey , so I might as well use my cutter as my fastball.”
White Sox right-hander James Shields (2-7, 4.63) once possessed a power fastball, but at age 36 he has transformed into a more strategic pitcher. He has enjoyed more success — if not more victories — this season as his WHIP has dropped from 1.44 to 1.23 from 2017 to 2018.
Shields is 9-9 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 career starts against the Tigers. A victory on Sunday would give the veteran double-digit wins against four teams. He has 12 wins against the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays to go along with 11 wins against the Baltimore Orioles.
One hitter Shields will have to be careful around is Nicholas Castellanos, who slugged two home runs for the Tigers in Saturday’s 7-5 win. Castellanos drove in five runs and is hitting .310 with eight homers and 39 RBIs this season.
The White Sox are led at the plate by Jose Abreu, who is hitting .284 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs. He is a strong candidate to land his second All-Star Game appearance this summer.
Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson said he and his teammates were not discouraged despite their record.
“The confidence is always going to be high, the mood is always going to be great whether we win, lose or draw,” Anderson said. “We try not to get down on ourselves Adidas Matt Murray Jersey , but we try to stay within ourselves and not do too much. We approach the game every day in the same way.”
The White Sox are 12-23 at home this season. The Tigers are 12-20 on the road.
When Paul Blackburn needed 47 pitches to make it through the first two innings, it didn’t seem he would last long for the Oakland Athletics.
Then Blackburn found his groove and led the streaking A’s to another win.
Blackburn pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and Oakland won its fifth straight game, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Friday night.
”It was just finding a tempo and rhythm,” Blackburn said. ”It’s something I’ve struggled with the first couple of innings. Once I get over that hump in the second inning, I feel like everything is more put together.”
Marcus Semien and Khris Davis drove in runs against Trevor Bauer (7-6) as the A’s followed up a four-game sweep at Detroit with a win in the opener of a five-game homestand.
Jed Lowrie provided insurance with a solo homer in the eighth off Zach McAllister to move Oakland a season-high seven games over .500.
”Games like that, it feels like a 10-run homer,” manager Bob Melvin said. ”The guys coming to the plate get your attention in the last inning. It was paramount. It gives you a little bit of wiggle room.”
Blake Treinen allowed two baserunners in the ninth before earning his 21st save in 23 chances. He has converted 18 straight save opportunities.
Blackburn (2-2) had a 12.70 ERA his past three starts and struggled early against Cleveland, with four of the first seven batters reaching base safely. But a caught stealing and a double play helped him make it through the first two innings unscathed and he settled down from there.
He retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced Adidas Jake Guentzel Jersey , allowing only a two-out walk to Yonder Alonso in the fourth before leaving after retiring Edwin Encarnacion to open the seventh. Blackburn allowed three hits and struck out five.
Francisco Lindor hit an RBI double off Yusmeiro Petit in the eighth inning for Cleveland.
The A’s, who score nearly two fewer runs per game at home than on the road, managed to get single runs against Bauer in the second and sixth innings. Matt Olson doubled in the second and scored on Semien’s two-out hit.
Oakland added an insurance run in the sixth when Matt Joyce singled and scored on Davis’ double.
”He seemed to be very patient so I wanted to make a point of getting ahead in that count,” Bauer said. ”He hit a bad pitch. He’s a good hitter. That’s what you’re supposed to do with hanging breaking balls, hit them.”
Bauer allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight. His 148 strikeouts are the most for a Cleveland pitcher before the end of June since Sam McDowell had 151 in 1970.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said the team will have a decision soon on the status of injured starter Danny Salazar, who has been on the DL all season with a right shoulder injury. Francona said the team is ”exploring some things” and said he would have more information in the next couple of days.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (hand) took grounders and hit off a tee. He will take BP on Sunday and could be back as early as next week. … RHP Andrew Triggs (right arm nerve irritation) had his rehab shut down because he felt tingling in fingers. He will get a second opinion next week. … RHP Trevor Cahill (right Achilles) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and will either have a lengthier bullpen session or simulation game next in his rehab.
Edwin Jackson (0-0) makes his second start for Oakland after allowing one run in six innings of a no-decision in his debut against Detroit. His nine-game winning streak against Cleveland is the longest since Storm Davis also won nine straight vs. the Indians from 1986-92. Adam Plutko (4-1) starts for Cleveland.