CHICAGO -- Mother Nature accomplished on Thursday night what the White Sox had rarely been able to do over their last 13 decisions against Detroit ace Justin Verlander -- she prevented the American League's defending Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player from beating the South Siders.
Steady rain delayed the finale of this four-game set, and after a little more than an hour, the forecast of more downpour throughout the evening caused the late-season postponement. The game will be made up on Monday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, with a 1:10 p.m. CT first pitch, but the White Sox will now face Doug Fister instead of Verlander.
Verlander carried a 12-1 record over his last 13 decisions against the White Sox into Thursday's contest. So that's one piece of good news for Chicago.
Thursday's rainout also allows the White Sox to take a one-game lead into Target Field this weekend, with the Tigers gaining a game by winning this abbreviated series. With 20 games still to play, that psychological advantage doesn't seem to factor much into the division leader's collective psyche.
"Every game from here on out is big," said Chris Sale, who was scheduled to go up against Verlander on Thursday in a rematch of a Sept. 2 series finale at Comerica Park but now will pitch on Friday in Minneapolis. "So we've got to go in there with the same mind-set we had all year, and play good baseball and come out of there winners."
"We are going to play. It wouldn't have mattered," manager Robin Ventura said. "We are going to go play the same way we were going to play tomorrow, no matter what."
The Tigers also dodged a bullet not having to face Sale, who is 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his last nine home starts. With Sale moving to Friday, Jose Quintana pitches on Saturday, and Jake Peavy looks to be finishing the series on Sunday. Gavin Floyd gets the call on Monday, which had been the last off-day for both teams.
"Obviously, I wanted to get back out there and face these guys one last time," Sale said. "The time before that didn't go too well, so I wanted to get back out there and get us where we needed to go. There's not much you can do in this situation. I'll get ready and head out to Minnesota."
Since this was Detroit's last visit to Chicago, Major League Baseball ultimately controlled the decision on the game. But Ventura pointed out that both sides were involved in the discussion.
"You don't want to start the game and kind of waste those guys going out there pitching and you don't get nine innings in. That was the concern," Ventura said. "It was supposed to rain all night. Both sides wanted to play. You can't, unless they would have built a roof."
Ventura's crew will be stopping in Chicago before going to Kansas City, whereas the Tigers will be returning to Detroit for a 10-game homestand after the makeup contest, which follows a weekend set in Cleveland.
This is the second rainout of the year for the White Sox, whose April 10 game at Progressive Field was canceled.
These two straight victories for the Tigers gave them eight wins in their last nine games against the White Sox. The season series has Detroit ahead by a 12-5 margin.
Floyd will try to improve that mark on Monday after reporting normal soreness the day after Wednesday's return to the mound. He had been on the disabled list with a strained right elbow flexor.
"A little sore, but just normal soreness," Floyd said. "It wasn't like the soreness I was feeling when it was bothering me. It was good stuff."