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CHICAGO — Act 2 of the Justin Verlander-Chris Sale matchup got washed out Thursday night.
Rain postponed the series finale between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. And when the top two teams in the AL Central make the game up this coming Monday, there will be different starters.
Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP who has won 12 of his previous 13 decisions against the White Sox, will now go against the Indians in Cleveland on Friday night. Doug Fister will start Monday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sixteen-game winner Sale gets the nod Friday in Minnesota with the White Sox turning to Gavin Floyd on Monday.
The game was called Thursday night after a little more than an hour’s delay — it wasn’t raining at the time of the scheduled first pitch — and neither pitcher warmed up.
“I think both sides, you don’t want to start the game and waste those guys pitching. That was a concern,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said.
“It was supposed to rain all night. We wanted to play. Both sides wanted to play,” he added, “but unless we put a roof over it .”
Monday was scheduled as the final day off of the regular season for both teams, so now they’ll turn around and come back to Chicago for a single game.
Now, no rest in the stretch.
The White Sox leave town briefly with a one-game lead. They won the opener against the Tigers on Monday night to build their lead to three games before Detroit captured the next two behind the pitching of Fister and Max Scherzer.
Detroit has dominated the season series 12-5 and has won 9 of the last 10. Manager Jim Leyland said the Tigers haven’t been able to get a lead and hold it, despite their head-to-head success. The Tigers last held sole possession of first place on July 23.
“We’ve played them tough. The thing we haven’t done up to this point, hopefully we will, when they’ve slipped a little bit, we haven’t taken advantage of it,” Leyland said.
“ Not that they’ve slipped much, but when they’ve lost and we’re not here, but somewhere else, we haven’t been able to take advantage of that,” Leyland said. “Sometime over the next couple weeks, we’re gonna have to do that.”
For example, the Tigers swept three from the White Sox at Comerica Park earlier this month — Verlander outpitched Sale in the finale on Sept. 2 — to pull even and then turned around and lost two of three to the Indians at home and then dropped three straight in Anaheim.
Floyd came off the disabled list Wednesday and pitched well against Detroit for four innings but ended up losing after a rough fifth inning. And now Detroit will miss the 6-foot-6 lefty Sale, who is 9-2 at home this season.
Ventura has been cautioning those who have been hyping the final Tigers-White Sox series that there is still two weeks of baseball left after they’ve seen the last of the their main competition.
“You still have to finish the rest of the season,” Ventura said. “And they do, too. It’s one of those there’s going to be a lot of tough games coming up and we’ll face more good pitchers and they’ll face our pitchers. It’s fun. For guys that are playing, this is a lot better than what other teams have going on right now.”
Chicago has played seven straight games without home run leader Adam Dunn (38 homers), who is still bothered by a strained right oblique that prevents him from swinging comfortably. When he’ll return is uncertain.
With Sale going on Friday, Francisco Liriano has been bumped from starting against his former team, the Twins. Jose Quintana will pitch for the White Sox on Saturday and Jake Peavy on Sunday.