The White Sox didn’t look like a division winner during a recent stretch in which they lost 10 of 17 games.
The American League Central Division winners appear to be peaking at just the right time.
Chicago (92-68) stretched its winning streak to five games by defeating visiting Detroit 8-1 on Friday. The division rivals will play the middle game of the three-game series on Saturday. The White Sox will head to the postseason after Sunday’s finale.
Jose Abreu drove in half of the White Sox’s runs, including a solo homer. He joined the 30-homer, 100-RBI club for the fifth time in his career.
Lucas Giolito (11-9, 3.58 ERA) is scheduled to make his final start before the playoffs. The 27-year-old right-hander needs two strikeouts to reach the 200 mark for the second time in his career. He struck out 228 batters in 2019.
Giolito has won his last two starts, including a six-inning stint at Cleveland on Sunday in which he held the Indians scoreless. He gave up five hits and struck out six while throwing 100 pitches.
“I’m just trying to put together a good start. I wanted to go at least six innings,” Giolito said afterward. “We accomplished those goals (Sunday).”
Giolito will be making his fourth start since recovering from a hamstring injury. He could be the team’s No. 1 starter in the playoffs.
Manager Tony La Russa was pleased with the way Giolito looked at Cleveland.
“He had composure, repeated his delivery,” La Russa said of Giolito. “He threw all of his pitches. It was really hard (for Cleveland) to get on anything because at any count, he may have something different.”
In 13 career starts against the Tigers, Giolito is 5-5 with a 4.76 ERA.
Rookie right-hander Matt Manning (4-7, 6.16) will make his final appearance of the season for Detroit (76-84).
Manning will be facing the White Sox for the third consecutive time. On Sept. 20, he allowed three runs on four hits in five innings. In his last start on Monday, Manning gave up six runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings.
He has battled control issues lately, issuing eight walks in those two outings.
“He might be trying to be a little too perfect,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He’s going to be a really good strike thrower, so I think this is a little bit of an anomaly. It’s not his norm. We love the days where he’s pounding the strike zone and can go wherever he wants. When he can’t, we’ve got to figure out a solution to get him back on track faster.”
Unlike fellow rookies Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, Manning didn’t pitch in the majors during last year’s abbreviated season. He was thrust into the rotation after a number of injuries to the starting staff. He’ll make his 18th MLB appearance — all starts — on Saturday.
The Tigers hope Manning can finish on a high note after his subpar outing on Monday.
“Really inconsistent with his delivery,” Hinch said. “His pace was slow. His body wasn’t moving great. It just didn’t look like he could throw the ball where he wanted to.”
–Field Level Media