In Friday's night's series opener, the Tigers and White Sox looked every bit the playoff-bound offensive juggernaut and the divisional cellar-dweller as Detroit pounded Chicago, 12-5. But, for the Tigers to continue their march to the divisional crown on Saturday, they'll have to get through starting pitcher Chris Sale, who is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in four starts against Detroit this season.
The two-time All-Star has won five of his last seven decisions, but he will look to recover from his last start against Cleveland, in which he gave up six runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"There's not much you can do when someone is on to you and kind of has your number," said Sale. "You just have to try to fight through that and battle through it."
The Tigers -- who hold a six-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central and enter with a magic number of three to clinch the division -- will send Rick Porcello to the mound. Porcello, who is riding a hot streak of his own, can match his career high with his 14th win, something he did as a rookie in 2009 and again in 2011. Nine of those wins have come since July 1. He's 9-2 with a 3.64 ERA in his last 13 starts, averaging better than six innings a start in that stretch.
Four of those nine wins, and five of those 13 starts, have come against the White Sox, whom he has beaten for a 4-0 record and a 2.02 ERA (compared to 5-5 in 11 starts against Chicago over his first four years combined). He tossed his first career complete game two starts ago in Chicago. Nobody has taken better advantage of the Tigers' heavy schedule of White Sox in the second half.
Part of his success, he believes, comes from his newfound mastery of the changeup.
"It's been kind of in and out for me all year," he said after his last start. "[Monday] and my Chicago start, I found it. I was down in the strike zone with it and got some effective swings and misses. I was able to kind of change speeds with it and it's been a good pitch the last two starts, but it's kind of been in and out along with my breaking ball and just kind of go by feel each game and know what kind of changeup I have that day, if it's good or not good."
Tigers: Comerica hosts 3 million … again
• On Saturday, the Tigers will go over the 3 million attendance mark, needing just 124 fans in the ballpark to get there for the second straight season. It will be the fourth time in the past seven years that Detroit has surpassed the milestone.
• Jose Iglesias was kept out of Friday's game against the White Sox after sustaining a bruised left hand when he was struck by a 95-mph fastball by Tom Wilhelmsen against the Mariners on Thursday.
"You'd be safe if you just said [he's] day to day," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Friday. "But he's not playing today, so he's day-tomorrow maybe."
White Sox: Rienzo misses Friday start
• Andre Rienzo was scratched from his start on Friday because of a blister on his pitching hand. Dylan Axelrod replaced him on the mound and allowed seven runs on 10 hits over 2 2/3 innings.
"We wanted to wait, evaluate and then wait and see," pitching coach Don Cooper said of Rienzo. "He's probably going to be going again, we're just not sure when."
• The White Sox (60-93) have the most club losses since the 1976 team also lost 93 games.
• The Tigers have won 83 of their last 123 games at Comerica Park.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.