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updated: 9/9/2012 11:44 PM

White Sox need quality starts against Tigers

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  • Starter Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers are in town to face the White Sox. Verlander pitches Thursday night.

      Starter Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers are in town to face the White Sox. Verlander pitches Thursday night.
    Associated Press

 
 

Q. With the Detroit Tigers coming in for four big games, what are some of your keys to the series for the White Sox?

A. First, they're going to have to get some quality starts, at least, out of Jose Quintana and Francisco Liriano. Obvious, I know.

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But considering Liriano hasn't given them one since Aug. 21 on top of allowing 8 runs in his last 9 innings, and that Quintana has thrown only 5 innings in his last 2 starts combined while allowing a total of 12 runs, it's safe to say these two guys have not given the White Sox a decent chance to win their last couple of turns in the rotation.

That can't happen this week.

Also, the Sox are going to see Detroit's four best in Rick Porcello, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander over the four-game set. The first two can be hit-or-miss and the last two have been dominant this year, though Verlander was roughed up a bit by the Los Angeles Angels his last time out.

The key here is that the Sox may have to hope for another off-night from Verlander and a recently rare one from Scherzer. This is to take nothing away from White Sox hitters, but this pair can easily shut down a team.

That's proven.

Ultimately, what this means is that Sox pitching will have to be tight because they may not be able to count on much offense in the final two games.

I'll be happy with a split, though a winning series should add a little weight to the Tigers' collective shoulders.

And another thing, Sox fans: go to the park this week. Seriously. I'm not really looking forward to seeing a bunch of navy and orange in the stands over the next four nights.

Q. Of all the September call-ups, who has impressed you?

A. I'd have to say that Brian Omogrosso has been a nice addition since he has been here, though it's not really been a significant sample.

One run over 5 relief innings, including a perfect 2-inning appearance against Kansas City, is a good showing for a young pitcher in a tight pennant race.

It has helped take some pressure off the rest of the bullpen and has shown manager Robin Ventura that he has comfortable options. Limiting appearances for relievers down the stretch when possible will only expand the life of the entire pen.

And, though he's not technically a call-up, Hector Santiago has been impressive in his 2 White Sox starts.

Pitch count has been an issue, but it's something that can be improved. Following Santiago's 4-inning, 8-strikeout performance Sunday, the team has seen enough to know it has something to work with.

He could become a solid career starter, and he may have earned himself another start or 2 down the stretch, even when Gavin Floyd is back in the fold.

That would work out perfectly for a team that would benefit from allowing Jose Quintana and Chris Sale extra rest.

Regardless of what happens the rest of the year, Santiago has shown the White Sox they have something to work with for the future.

•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.

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