Jake Peavy, recently named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April, will toe the rubber for the White Sox against the Tigers and left-hander Drew Smyly, as the two AL Central rivals square off at Comerica Park.
Peavy led the AL in ERA, opponents' average and complete games through his first five starts of the season, going 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA. He struck out 33 and tossed two complete games (one shutout) during the month. All five of his outings were quality starts, tied for the AL lead.
"For us, Jake's been pitching like that all year," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's unfair for you to expect that every time he's goes out. He just continues to impress and pitch brilliantly. That's the frustrating part. You get a pitching performance like that and don't take advantage."
Chicago will be looking to take advantage against Smyly, which should be a challenge given how well the rookie has pitched thus far. His 1.23 ERA would lead the AL if he had enough innings to qualify. He's given up three earned runs in 22 innings this season.
"When you're playing against your own division, you want to make sure you're playing well and don't give any away," Ventura said. "Maybe take a couple."
However, winning Friday's series opener could be quite a challenge for the White Sox, given how well Smyly has pitched thus far. His 1.23 ERA would lead the AL if he had enough innings to qualify. He's given up three earned runs in 22 innings this season.
Perhaps more impressively, Smyly is the first starting pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to give up fewer than two runs in each of his first four Major League outings. Smyly is also just the third pitcher in the last 50 years to do it.
"I wouldn't say [I'm] surprised," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I'd say it's too early to get carried away, but it's not too early to say he's really doing well. We're very happy with what we're seeing, and it looks like -- if you're just speaking at this time -- it looks like he can settle into that spot and be very effective for us. But it's early."
White Sox: Reed near club rookie record
Addison Reed's 10 consecutive scoreless appearances ranks as the third-longest stretch by a White Sox rookie reliever to start a season since 1921, according to STATS LLC. Sergio Santos holds the current record at 12 in 2010, followed by Matt Karchner with 11 in 1995.
Reed is hardly getting caught up in those numbers, however.
"The only time I've ever thought of it is right now," Reed said. "It's not going to change anything. Every time I go out, I try to not give up any runs. If it happens to be a record, then it happens to be a record."
Tigers: Young returns, unlikely to start
Delmon Young will return on Friday from the suspension Major League Baseball handed him for his off-the-field incident and arrest in New York a week ago, but he is not expected to be in the starting lineup. Leyland said on Tuesday that Young will need to get back up to speed first.
"He needs to get back into a routine a little bit, get out on the field, taking fly balls, BP on the field, all that kind of stuff. So it's very unlikely he'd play Friday," Leyland said.
"Now, would I put him in the game if I needed to? Sure, but he won't start Friday's game. And that's the only reason, only because he needs to get back, get some BP, run around the outfield a little bit, stuff like that."
Tigers reliever Luis Marte, who has been sidelined since April 4 with a strained left hamstring, was set to make his first rehab appearance, but he was shut down after feeling soreness following a bullpen session last week.
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko needs one hit to pass Eddie Collins for sole possession of fourth place on the team's all-time hit list. Konerko has 2,007 career hits, all with the White Sox.