DETROIT – As AL Central rivals and competitors for division titles over that last decade, the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox aren't expected to like each other on the baseball diamond.
But the last time Chicago sent Chris Sale to the mound against the four-time division champs, the tension rose to a point well beyond that of a normal afternoon in Comerica Park.
When Victor Martinez came to the plate with one out in the 6th inning, Sale beaned him with a high fastball and accused the Tigers' DH of stealing signs through a partner in center field. Both benches cleared onto the infield before a J.D. Martinez double and Nick Castellanos sacrifice fly brought Victor Martinez home to tie the game 1-1.
Sale was seen signaling that Martinez had someone with binoculars relaying signs to him from the center field bleachers.
In the following inning, the Tigers ripped reliever Javy Guerra en route to a 6-1 win. After his go-ahead RBI double, Ian Kinsler leaned over and pretended to focus binoculars toward the Detroit dugout.
Photo from MLB.com
Sale makes his return to Comerica Park on Saturday, hoping to build off of a successful season against the Tigers in 2014. He allowed just five runs in 20 innings against Detroit, striking out 33 batters and allowing just 15 hits.
First Pitch: 1:08 p.m. on FSD
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who allowed three home runs in his last outing against the Pirates. Sanchez was tabbed with Detroit's only loss of the season and saw his ERA balloon to 3.46 in two starts.
Chicago acquired a big bat against Sanchez during the offseason, as Melky Cabrera carries a lifetime .458 average against the 31-year-old. In 24 at-bats, Cabrera has hit 11 singles and struck out just three times.
Sanchez lost both of his starts against Chicago last season, posting a 4.97 ERA and allowing 11 hits in 12.2 innings.
Brad Ausmus inserts Victor Martinez back into the lineup Saturday, as he boasts a .517 career average (15-29) against Sale with three home runs and six RBI.
The Tigers' starting nine is as follows:
Rajai Davis, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
James McCann, C
Hernan Perez, 3B
Jose Iglesias, SS
Chicago will counter with its own starting nine against Sanchez:
Adam Eaton, CF
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Abreu, DH
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Avisail Garcia, RF
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Tyler Flowers, C
Micah Johnson, 2B
The series finale will be Sunday afternoon with Shane Greene battling Jose Quintana.