The Chicago White Sox won their 2012 home opener at U.S. Cellular in convincing fashion, and now they get a chance to clinch a series win and to move into first place in the AL Central with another victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon. The standings don't really matter at this point in the season, but for a White Sox team that typically underwhelms in April and is expected to flounder this season, it would be an early boost to draw in fans and get people excited about the season.
Gavin Floyd will take the mound for the Sox, and despite a gaudy 6.35 ERA, he pitched fairly well in his first start of the season against the Texas Rangers. Five hits over 5.2 innings doesn't look so bad, but when three of those hits are home runs it really puts a damper on the performance. Floyd will look to keep the ball down in this outing and avoid the long ball against a potent Tigers lineup.
As for the offense, Jim Margalus of SB Nation's excellent White Sox blog, South Side Sox, broke down why there is hope that Adam Dunn will hit better at home (and likely everywhere) this season:
Among the incredible things about his 2011 season is that he slugged the exact same pitiful percentage home and away, even though he hit eight of his 11 homers at U.S. Cellular Field.
- Home: .149/.267/.277, 32 BB, 97 K over 236 PA
- Away: .169/.315/.277, 43 BB, 80 K over 260 PA
I imagine it has to go better for him this time. He's hitting .222/.364/.389, but .364/.462/.636 against right-handed pitching (he's 0-for-7 so far against lefties). He's using more of the field. He's seeing the most pitches in the league (5.05 per plate appearance), which is a combination of increased selectivity and increased ability to cover more of the strike zone. He's showing a lot more fight when he gets behind in the count. He's a couple hits off lefties away from being back to what he was, when adding up his components.
In the opener on Friday Dunn went 0-4 in four plate appearances with four strikeouts, so he's even more due to breakout at U.S. Cellular now.
As for the Tigers, Brandon Inge could make his 2012 debut after completing his rehab assignment in Toledo and rejoining the team for the series in Chicago.
Here is the key information for today's game.
Date / Time: 3:10 PM CT, Saturday, April 14, 2012
Location: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
Starting Pitchers: Gavin Floyd (0-1, 6.35 ERA) vs. Adam Wilk (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Radio: AM 670 The Score
For more on the Tigers, visit Bless You Boys. White Sox news and analysis is available at South Side Sox. Check out MLB Daily Dish for off-season rumors and reports. And for more news and notes from around baseball, visit Baseball Nation.