The Chicago White Sox are stumbling their way to an American League Central Division title.
They have dropped the first two games of a three-game series in Detroit and five of their last seven games overall. They'll play the series finale on Wednesday, weather permitting.
"We've been right inthere," pitcher Dallas Keuchel said. "We've just found a way to lose them instead of the other way around."
Chicago lost a one-run game on Monday, then dropped a 5-3 decision on Tuesday in which it left 13 men on base. It could still clinch the division on Wednesday, if all goes well.
"We had a chance to blow that game open and score more runs than we did," manager Tony La Russa said.
It's not just the offense that has faltered. The White Sox (85-66) have made crucial defensive mistakes as well and their pitchers gave up 16 hits on Tuesday.
"You've got to play hard and you've got to play well," La Russa said. "You've got to be able to execute in this league, and our execution is not where it has to be in all phases."
Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 3.00 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale for the White Sox. Lopez has made 13 career starts against the Tigers, posting a 4-4 record and 3.42 ERA.
In his previous start, on Thursday, Lopez gave up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in four innings in a loss against the Los Angeles Angels.
He'll be opposed by rookie right-hander Casey Mize (7-8, 3.64), who has lost all three of his starts against the White Sox this season. He won't be around long enough to qualify for a victory. He has been placed under a three-inning limit for the remainder of the season by the Tigers' organization.
He held Tampa Bay to one run on three hits in his last three-inning stint on Friday.
Detroit (74-78) has won four straight and seven of the last nine. The Tigers scored three runs in the seventh to break a 2-all deadlock on Tuesday.
"Our team finds ways to win," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We put pressure on the opponent. We hung in there. Today was a really weird game. Both teams left double-digit guys on base. Both teams found a lot of hits but had a hard time pushing runs across until the end, and we came out with the big hit."
Detroit entered the All-Star break 11 games below .500. It has a chance to finish at or above .500 despite losing some key pitchers to season-ending ailments and having three rookies in the rotation.
The Tigers have embraced an aggressive style, which they've displayed during the first two games of the series. Robbie Grossman stole a base prior to scoring the go-ahead run on Monday. They stole three more bases on Tuesday.
"We may make a mistake or two, but it's OK because we're going to keep coming at you," Hinch said. "To me, that's a proud feeling as a manager, to have a team that buys in like that."
The White Sox have bought into La Russa's old-school style, but they're looking to gain some momentum heading into the postseason.
--Field Level Media