Nothing to Celebrate

A season-opening five-game losing streak isn't exactly how the Detroit Tigers expected to start 2008, but they're hoping their No. 1 starter can get them finally on the right track.

Justin Verlander looks to help the Tigers secure their first win of the year as they try to avoid being swept by the Chicago White Sox in the finale of a three-game set on Sunday.

Oddsmakers from have made Detroit -154 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit –154 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Detroit, which remains the lone team in the majors without a victory, has started 0-5 for the first time dropping the first nine games en route to an AL-record 119 defeats in 2003.

"We're a good ballclub. When I was here early, early in my career, those teams had to battle to just win a game," said Brandon Inge, a member on that 2003 squad. "This team isn't like that. It's a good team and we're going through a little rough stretch right now."

Another loss, though, will give the Tigers their first six-game losing streak since enduring an eight-game skid from Sept. 16-23, 2005.

Detroit will turn to the starter who pitched in the first game of the skid. In his first career opening day start, Verlander (0-0, 6.00 ERA) gave up four runs and four hits over six innings in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Kansas City on Monday.

The right-hander will try to bounce back against the White Sox. He is 1-4 with a 5.96 ERA in eight career starts against Chicago, but did not receive a decision in any of his three appearances last season.

Verlander is just 1-1 with a 5.94 ERA in three career starts against Chicago at Comerica Park, where he went 10-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 17 starts in 2007.

The Tigers' frustrations were extended with a 5-3 loss to the White Sox (3-2) on Saturday afternoon.

Inge staked Detroit to a 3-0 lead with an RBI double in the second inning and a two-run homer in the fourth, but starter Dontrelle Willis, making his American League debut, yielded three runs in a four-run sixth inning after pitching five hitless innings.

The Tigers limited Chicago to three hits, but the White Sox rallied for their third straight win behind eight walks, including seven issued by Willis.

"He was keeping us off balance," said Paul Konerko, who went 0-for-3 with an RBI. "We kept our patience and the hits finally happened."

Jermaine Dye, batting .474 (9-for-19) this season, has hit safely in all five games this season and homered Saturday for the second time in 2008.

Dye is hitting .464 (13-for-28) with two homers and six RBIs in his last eight games against the Tigers. He has batted .450 (9-for-20) with three home runs and five RBIs against Verlander.

The White Sox will start Mark Buehrle (0-0, 37.80), who is coming off of a disastrous outing.

The left-hander was touched for seven runs and seven hits in just 1 2-3 innings, but did not receive a decision in a 10-8 loss at Cleveland on Monday.

"It doesn't get much more embarrassing for a starting pitcher than that," said Buehrle, who started the season opener for the sixth time in seven years.

Buehrle, though, hopes to return to his winning ways against the Tigers. He is 12-8 with a lifetime 3.14 ERA in 24 appearances, going 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA in three games last season. He is also 6-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 14 games in Detroit.

Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield, who has missed the first two games of this series with a torn tendon on a finger on his left hand, could return to the lineup on Sunday.

Sheffield is 0-for-10 with three strikeouts against Buehrle.

Here are some top trends for today's game:

-CHI WHITE SOX is 2-0 (+2.6 Units) against DETROIT this season

-1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=-0.1 Units, Under=-0.1 Units)

-DETROIT is 0-5 (-8.4 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season.

-CHI WHITE SOX are 334-319 (+51.6 Units) against the money line in road games against right-handed starters since 1997.

by: Dave Michaels - – Email Us

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