The Detroit Tigers will try to stay hot and inch closer to officially clinching the AL Central Tuesday night in Chicago when they face the White Sox in the second game of their three-game series.
AL Cy Young contender Justin Verlander and Gavin Floyd take the mound at 8:10 p.m. (ET) at U.S. Cellular Field.
Fueled by nine straight wins (+9.10 units) including series sweeps of division rivals Chicago, Cleveland and Minnesota, Detroit entered Monday's series opener with a commanding 10.5-game lead in the AL Central. With just two and a half weeks left in the regular season, it would take a major collapse for the Tigers to miss the playoffs at this point.
Detroit (84-62) is winning in a variety of ways, getting timely offense and strong starting pitching down the stretch. The Tigers are 19-4 (+14.90 units) over their last 23 games.
No one has had more to do with Detroit’s success this season than Verlander (22-5, 2.44 ERA), who has been nothing short of dominant all season and has won 10 straight starts (+10.00 units). The Tigers have been a great betting option with Verlander on the mound this year, and are 19-2 (+15.85 units) in his last 21 starts.
The dominant righty has pitched more often against the White Sox this season than any other opponent. In five starts against Chicago, Verlander is 4-1 with a 3.47 ERA.
Chicago (73-72) is 5-3 (+0.95 units) over their last eight games. Chicago had a chance to close some ground in the AL Central in a series against Detroit earlier this month, but a Tigers sweep left the White Sox on the outside looking in.
Floyd (12-10, 4.35 ERA) has been quite strong for Chicago over the second half of the season. In his 10 starts since the All-Star break, Floyd is 6-1 with a 3.92 ERA, and the White Sox are 8-2 (+6.90 units).
He was on the mound the last time Verlander lost, outdueling him on July 15 as a +185 underdog. In 16 career starts against the Tigers, Floyd is 6-1 with a 3.51 ERA.
Through 15 games heading into Monday, Detroit held a 10-5 advantage in the season series over Chicago. Offense has prevailed in ‘total’ betting as the ‘over’ is 9-5-1.
Chicago has been a bad home team at 33-39 (-17.60 units), while Detroit has been profitable on the road at 39-33 (+8.10 units).
Carlos Quentin (shoulder) is still on the disabled list for Chicago, and Detroit’s Brennan Boesch (thumb) is out for the season.
Clear skies are expected Tuesday night with just a light breeze. Brad Penny and Dylan Axelrod will pitch in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.