The Detroit Tigers will send Justin Verlander to the mound on Thursday afternoon when they try to complete a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Tigers have won four straight overall and have outscored Chicago by a combined 19-7 margin in the first three tilts of this series. On Thursday, the AL Central leaders will go their first four-game road sweep of the White Sox since June 20-22, 1980.
Detroit is currently 3 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland for first place in the AL Central and can push that lead to four with a win today. The Indians have Thursday off ahead of a this weekend's series against the Texas Rangers.
Verlander will aim for a measure of revenge this afternoon against the White Sox, who roughed up the former Cy Young Award winner for five runs and 12 hits in a loss on July 9.
Verlander has started two games since losing to Chicago earlier this month. The right-hander earned a win against Texas on July 14 with seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball, but was pounded for six runs -- five earned -- in a setback Saturday in Kansas City.
Verlander gave up eight hits, walked four and struck out three over 5 2/3 innings against the Royals. It marked the fourth time in seven outings that he surrendered four or more earned runs.
For his career, Verlander is 14-11 against the White Sox with a 4.02 ERA.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez threw six scoreless innings to help lift his club to a 6-2 win over the White Sox on Wednesday. Detroit also received homers from three different players in the win.
Prince Fielder cranked a three-run blast in the first inning, Austin Jackson a solo shot in the second and Torii Hunter added another solo blast in the fifth. Sanchez (8-7) allowed six hits and fanned five.
All of Detroit's homers came off John Danks (2-8), who surrendered 11 hits and six runs over seven frames for the bottom-dwellers in the AL Central.
The White Sox, who had 11 hits, fell 20 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 2007.
"You can smatter them around. I think that's what good pitchers do. For us, we're going to have to find a way to get them consecutively to put more pressure on them," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of his team going 1- for-10 with men in scoring position.
Detroit won again despite playing a second straight game without third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is battling a sore left hip flexor muscle. The reigning AL MVP is considered day-to-day and could miss another test today.
The White Sox will send a former Cy Young Award winner of their own to the mound on Thursday in right-hander Jake Peavy.
Peavy returned from a six-week absence due to a fractured left rib on Saturday and picked up the win against Atlanta. Peavy, who was making his first appearance since June 4, allowed four runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in six innings of work against the Braves. He also struck out three batters, while walking one.
The 32-year-old Peavy has struggled a bit in his career against the Tigers, going 3-5 with a 4.80 ERA in this series. Today's outing marks his first action against Detroit this season.
Detroit is 4-2 versus the White Sox this season and 16-8 against them since the start of the 2012 campaign.
Next up for the Tigers is this weekend's home series against Philadelphia, while Chicago will stay at U.S. Cellular Field to face Kansas City.