Friday, April 04, 2008

Opponent Preview - Chicago White Sox

The Friday afternoon game threw me off, so this preview will come one game into the series. Play along. The Tigers come into this series looking to turn things around. Will they be able to do so against the Chicago White Sox? Here's today's lineup, which is likely their lineup for tommorow as well:

S-Nick Swisher CF
R-Orlando Cabrera SS
L-Jim Thome DH
R-Paul Konerko 1B
R-Jermaine Dye RF
L-A.J. Pierzynski C
R-Carlos Quentin LF
R-Joe Crede 3B
R-Juan Uribe 2B

We saw this lineup torch Nate Robertson and Jason Grill today, and looking at the platoon splits, you can see why. Konerko, Dye, Crede, and especially Quentin (who will likely only start against lefties with Alexei Ramirez starting against Verlander Sunday) are all significantly better against south paws. Meanwhile, Thome and Pierzynski struggle mightily against lefties. While hindsight is indeed 20/20, I can't help but wonder if Bobby Seay should have been pitching against A.J. Pierzynski in a tight spot today. Here are A.J.'s splits for his career:

vs. R: .294/.342/.449
vs. L: .248/.277/.360

In a tie game with runners on, it seems like an automatic move to utilize the LOOGY in this situation. I'll wait for another day to rail against Jason Grill getting high leverage innings at home, but this is bullpen mismanagement at its best.

Back on subject, to the Chicago bench:
R- Toby Hall C
R- Alexei Ramirez 2B/CF
R- Brian Anderson OF
R- Pablo Ozuna IF/OF

The bench is heavy with righties. Ramirez is probably unknown to many, but was the star for Cuba in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and was the opening day starter in center field. He'll be splitting time with Quentin. Anderson is your typical no-hit centerfielder, and Ozuna is Omar Infante lite. We probably won't see Toby Hall with no day game after night games in this series.

R- Jose Contreras
R- Gavin Floyd
L- Mark Buerhle

Had I written this before the series, I'd say Jose Contreras is what the doctor ordered for the Tigers bats. The guy was very bad last season, and was bad again today. The Tigers still didn't capitalize on all of the opportunities. Floyd is a wild card, but I like the team's chances against him. Buehrle is the type of pitcher the Tigers seem to struggle against, as we saw with Bannister earlier in the week.

R- Bobby Jenks
R- Scott Linebrink
R- Octavio Dotel
R- Mike McDougal
L- Matt Thornton
R- Nick Massett
L- Boone Logan

We saw Jenks, Linebrink, Dotel, and Logan today. Jenks and Dotel are the surest things, while Linebrink is being paid like one. McDougal has a bit of a whild streak, while Logan and Massett struggled mightily last season. It will be important to get into the bullpen quickly, because the early-middle relief is much worse than the late inning guys.

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