OK, so this is not a huge series for the White Sox. It's June, so keep calm.
But it very well could be a springboard set.
Contact information ( * required )
As in, if the Sox are making a playoff push in August or September, they can look back to this week's meeting against the first-place Tigers as the series that finally got them pointed in the right direction.
"We've had a good feeling," second baseman Gordon Beckham said. "I don't think it's been one of those things where we're just now thinking we can do this. We show up to play. We don't expect everything, to win the division today or tomorrow.
"We just kind of figured, you keep coming to the park, you keep doing the right things, good things will happen. I think that's kind of where we're at and we're getting some wins against a good team. We're in a good spot."
After winning their second straight game over Detroit, an 8-2 pounding Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox (33-33) are only 2½ games off the pace. Kansas City (33-32) is 2 games back in second place, and the Sox and Cleveland are tied for third. Even Minnesota (31-33) is within striking distance.
"Yeah, we've had a good feeling from the get-go," said White Sox starter John Danks (5-5), who outpitched Justin Verlander to get the win.
"We're not looking at the scoreboard just yet or the standings; we're just trying to win every game we can. Nothing's changed. We've been a pretty confident bunch from the start of it and fully expect to be in the thick of it when the time comes."
The Sox used to have little or no shot when Verlander took the mound, but the one-time ace seems to be a shell of his former self. Maybe throwing at least 200 innings in each of the past seven seasons finally is taking a toll.
In his last 17 starts against the White Sox dating to 2009, Verlander was 13-3 with a 2.67 ERA.
The Sox finally got some revenge Wednesday, tagging Verlander (6-6, 4.61 ERA) for 7 runs in 5⅔ innings. The hard-throwing righty looked way off his game while giving up 8 hits and walking 4 while throwing 122 pitches.
"I mean, really I felt good," Verlander said. "It was just the walks. I need to limit the walks. That one huge inning (sixth), you know, I walked a few guys and gave up a couple weak hits and turned it into a big inning myself, when it shouldn't have been."
It was only natural that Jose Abreu (3-for-4) opened the scoring for the White Sox with a solo home run off Verlander in the second inning.
The Sox chased the 2011 Cy Young Award winner in the sixth, scoring 7 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, including Conor Gillaspie's 2-run double and Beckham's 2-run single. Adam Dunn also singled twice in the inning.
"We led off with 3 singles, guys getting on base against Verlander," Beckham said. "You've got to have guys out there because not a lot of guys hit homers, unless your name's Jose.
"It was good. We got on him. There were too many times I feel like he's left the field on the winning end of that, so it was good to get some knocks against him."