Chris Sale faces Justin Verlander on Saturday in a matchup of former American League Central foes for the second time this season. They met April 10 in a 2-1 Tigers win. Sale went 7 2/3 innings with 2 earned runs, 10 K's and 1 walk. Verlander went seven innings with zero earned runs (1 run scored), 4 K's and 2 walks. A sixth-inning Ian Kinsler solo home run was the difference in the game.
Can't wait to see you again
Sale and Verlander have faced off five times as starters. In his past four starts opposite Verlander (excluding their first matchup in 2012), Sale has allowed seven earned runs in 29 2/3 innings pitched and has gotten three no-decisions and a loss. Sale's teams have scored a combined seven runs in those games, and his opponent has been even better. Verlander has five ER in 29 IP in those past four matchups.
Overall, Verlander has had the upper hand in each matchup -- as have the Tigers. Sale’s teams have scored a combined nine runs in those five matchups. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, if Sale doesn't get a win tonight, he will be the only current major league pitcher to start at least six games opposite a particular active pitcher without earning a win.
This will be just the second time Sale has started opposite Verlander as the home starter.
Verlander and Sale have combined for 10.2 K's per 9 IP in games they've started opposite each other, which is the third-highest among any two active starters who have pitched against each other at least five times. Only Clayton Kershaw and Jorge De La Rosa (11.7) and Jon Lester and Carlos Martinez (10.3) have higher combined K's per 9 IP in matchups.
Headed in different directions?
Sale has the most 10-strikeout games, with 43, of any pitcher for an American League team since he became a starter in 2012. Verlander has 18, which is tied for seventh-most. This season, however, Sale and Verlander have been very different pitchers. Sale leads the majors with eight 10-strikeout games this season. Verlander has one.
Sale has a 2.89 ERA and 0.93 WHIP this season. He's holding batters to just a .556 OPS and is striking out 36 percent of batters. Verlander, on the other hand, has a 4.63 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Batters have a .756 OPS against him, and he's striking out just 21 percent of batters.