(Sports Network) - Hoping to bounce back from a devastating result in their most recent series, the Chicago White Sox continue their current homestand with tonight's opener of a three-game set with the Detroit Tigers from U.S. Cellular Field.
Chicago had hoped to use this nine-game residency as a chance to close the gap on first-place Minnesota in the American League Central race, but instead fell further behind in the standings after losing three straight critical meetings with the Twins earlier this week. The White Sox are now nine games off the division lead with just 16 to play following Thursday's 8-5 setback to Minnesota.
"Obviously, mathematically we're not out of it," said Chicago pitcher Mark Buehrle after last night's defeat. "But as good as a team they have, we're not playing the best ball now. The magic number is not to zero yet."
Buehrle (12-11) didn't help his team's chances with his performance on Thursday, as the veteran lefty allowed six runs on eight hits over the first five innings to take the loss.
The White Sox did hit three solo home runs in Thursday's game, including one from Paul Konerko in the subsequent at-bat after the first baseman was struck in the mouth by a pitch from the Twins' Carl Pavano. A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez also went deep for Chicago, with both players finishing with two hits on the night.
Chicago, now 2-4 on this homestand, will turn to Edwin Jackson tonight in hopes of bouncing back. The midseason acquisition has done well since joining the White Sox in a late-July trade with Arizona, having compiled a 3-1 record and a strong 2.94 earned run average in seven starts, but was hit hard in his most recent trip to the mound.
Against Kansas City this past Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field, Jackson was tagged for six runs and a season-worst 13 hits in just five innings of an 8-2 loss. The right-hander had faced the Tigers in Detroit five days earlier, getting a no-decision in that September 6 matchup after permitting four runs over 7 1/3 frames.
Jackson, who won 13 games and made the AL All-Star team as a member of the Tigers last season, has faced his old team three times since coming to Chicago and has gone 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA in those games, while pitching at least seven innings each time. For his career, the 27-year-old owns a 3-0 record with a 3.00 ERA in eight appearances (six starts) versus Detroit.
The Tigers enter the Windy City struggling as well, having lost four of their last five games and dropping both tests of a brief set at AL West leader Texas prior to this series. The Rangers piled up 22 runs on Detroit in those two tilts and belted three homers en route to an 11-4 rout in Wednesday's finale.
Two of those long balls came against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga (4-6), who was battered for eight runs (seven earned) and eight hits before exiting after only 3 2/3 innings.
"Every time we put up runs, they'd come up and score more and put them back up," said Tigers utilityman Ryan Raburn, who paced his team offensively by going 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI.
Miguel Cabrera knocked in two runs for Detroit, raising his major league- leading total to 118.
With the Tigers having to go to the bullpen early in the Texas series, the team will be asking for a long outing out of Max Scherzer in tonight's opener. The young right-hander has been eating innings as of late, having lasted at least six frames in each of his past nine starts, and has posted an excellent 2.43 ERA in 12 assignments since the All-Star break.
Scherzer wasn't particularly sharp in Saturday's clash with Baltimore, however, surrendering four runs and 12 hits in six innings to come out on the wrong end of a 5-3 verdict.
The 26-year-old, a first-round pick of Arizona in 2006, was dealt from the Diamondbacks to the Tigers this past winter in a three-team trade that also sent Jackson to Arizona. The two hurlers went head-to-head in Detroit back on September 6, with Scherzer also registering a no-decision after being reached for four runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Scherzer is 0-1 with a 3.74 ERA in three overall starts against Chicago, all of which have taken place this year.
The White Sox have won eight of 15 meetings with Detroit so far this season, though the Tigers are 5-1 in the last six bouts between the teams. The two AL Central foes have split six games held in Chicago this year.