The Sox have a quick turnaround from their dramatic afternoon as they fly to Detroit to take on the Tigers. The timing on this series is great from a baseball fan’s perspective since the Tigers and White Sox are now tied for first place. Including the doubleheader today, neither team wants any worse than a split in the 4 game series.
Wise – CF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Thome – DH
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Getz – 2B
Beckham – 3B
Contreras – SP
The big surprise in this lineup is Wise leading off. Wise was one of the hottest topics in baseball after his amazing catch yesterday; we’ll see if he can ride that momentum into today. I am also surprised that Castro is not catching Contreras. Castro, who caught Buehrle’s perfect game yesterday, has been Jose’s personal catcher since Contreras returned from the minors. For the most part, Jose has found success with Castro, but was roughed up last time out against Baltimore. You figure Castro will play in Game 2 (it could also be possible that Colon requested him), but I’m also surprised since Ozzie is picking the lefty against Verlander. A.J. is hitting over .300 against Verlander, so it’s nice to see Ozzie straying from an obsession with playing the percentages.
Sox fans know Verlander well. Justin has a stellar 1.34 E.R.A. with a 6-0 record at home this year. He doesn’t give up a lot of home runs or walks, and figures to be a tough customer for the Sox today. The Sox should have some hope going into this game. In the past the Sox have given Verlander a tough time, even when the rest of the league has trouble with him. Verlander has a 3-9 career record and 5.44 E.R.A. against the Sox. That is Verlander’s worst career E.R.A. for any team he has faced over 3 times.
One quick note for Game 2, Bartolo Colon will be making the start, and to make room for Colon, the Sox sent rookie Carlos Torres back down to AAA. Torres had a quality start in his major league debut against the Rays.
The only change for today’s lineup is Ramon Castro playing for Pierzynski. Ever since Jose Contreras came back from the minor leagues, he has used Castro as his personal catcher and it has worked out great for him. It’s also a move that gives A.J. a chance to take a day off, even if he hates doing it. Contreras has been excellent since being sent down to the minors. His overall stats still don’t show it because of how terrible he was before the Sox sent him down (and according to the broadcasters, Jose ASKED to be sent down), but Jose is looking like the pitcher the Sox could depend on 3-4 years ago. A decent effort from Jose should give the Sox the sweep. The Sox offense faces Guthrie today, who already lost to the Sox this year. He does not have great stats, and the hot Sox offense shouldn’t have a problem with him.