KANSAS CITY -- For the Tigers, things in August have gone south against southpaws.
Detroit is just 5-5 in games started by left-handers this month. Those starters allowed a total of just 26 earned runs in 10 games.
The latest rough effort came in Wednesday's 1-0 loss, when Royals lefty Bruce Chen dominated the Detroit offense, allowing just four hits over eight innings. It was the third straight game in which a lefty starter has allowed two earned runs or fewer to the Tigers.
Thankfully for the Tigers, their starters have pitched well, too. Despite being held pretty much in check by three straight lefties in a recent series against Toronto, Detroit won all three games. And, even in Wednesday's loss, Anibal Sanchez pitched terrifically, allowing just one run over seven innings.
But the offense has struggled. One player particularly slumping against lefty starters is first baseman Prince Fielder, who is hitting just .255 this season, compared to .335 against righties.
It all comes into play as the Tigers gear up for a three-game weekend series at home with the White Sox, the team they're chasing in the American League Central. Two of the three contests will feature opposing lefties, with Francisco Liriano pitching on Saturday and Chris Sale going on Sunday for Chicago.
For Liriano, it will be his first start against Detroit since Aug. 15 of last season, when he picked up a win. He's faced the Tigers twice this season as a reliever with the Twins. He pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning on May 17, but he relinquished four runs on five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings on May 25. Sale is 0-2 in two prior starts this season against the Tigers.