Thu, 21 Oct 2021

Nearing AL Central title, White Sox visit Tigers

Field Level Media
21 Sep 2021, 15:55 GMT+10

The Chicago White Sox moved closer to an American League Central Division title on Monday despite losing to the Detroit Tigers.

With second-place Cleveland getting swept by Kansas City in a doubleheader, the White Sox's magic number to clinch the division is two.

They can clinch the title witha win in Detroit on Tuesday and another Cleveland loss.

However, the White Sox (85-65) will probably be in their hotel rooms if that occurs. Their game has been moved to 1:10 p.m. ET due to a forecast of steady rain in the Detroit area later in the day.

Manager Tony La Russa is more concerned with how his team is performing than the weather.

"We haven't been consistent," he said. "And it's not like it's not relevant, because when (Cleveland) gets beat, the number goes down. But the priority is: What are we doing, and how can we get more consistent? And that's where the focus is."

The White Sox will have another option in the outfield on Tuesday.

Adam Engel is expected to come off the injured list. He has battled hamstring, shoulder and groin injuries this season while appearing in just 33 games. His defense could be a factor in the postseason.

"It was good to see him," La Russa said. "Looks good, feels good."

Tyler Alexander (2-3, 4.13 ERA) is scheduled to start for Detroit (73-78) on Tuesday. Alexander began the season as a long reliever but has made 12 starts, including 10 during the last three months.

He'll be seeking his first victory since Aug. 7. He's pitched against American League East Division leader Tampa Bay in his last two outings, allowing a combined four earned runs in 10 innings.

Alexander has made five relief appearances against the White Sox this season, going 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA. He has struck out nine in eight innings against Chicago this year.

In 12 career appearances - five starts - against the White Sox, Alexander is 1-4 with a 5.35 ERA.

He's struggled against Tim Anderson (two homers in 14 official at-bats) and Jose Abreu (.471 in 17 plate appearances).

Dallas Keuchel (8-9, 5.23 ERA) is expected to oppose Alexander. Keuchel ended a string of four consecutive outings in which he allowed at least five earned runs when he held the Los Angeles Angels to two runs in six innings on Wednesday.

In 11 career outings - 10 starts -- against Detroit, he's 4-4 with a 4.60 ERA. Jonathan Schoop (.389, two homers in 18 at-bats) has been a tough out for Keuchel during his career.

"I've been feeling good," Keuchel said of his last outing. "Outside of a couple of at-bats, I feel like I made the pitches I wanted to. I had five walks, but any one of those outside of one were pretty close. So just the way it goes."

The Tigers used some small ball to win the series opener, 4-3. Victor Reyes reached second on a fielder's choice when Cesar Hernandez tagged him without the ball in his glove. He moved up on a fly ball and scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the score.

Robbie Grossman stole second base in the eighth inning prior to Harold Castro's go-ahead single.

"Our baserunning in general -- Robbie's stolen base when the opportunity came up late in the game -- it's a mindset that I feel good about with our team," Detroit manager AJ Hinch said. "We can make things happen and it can pay off."

--Field Level Media

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