By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – The last time the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox met, benches cleared, bullpens emptied and Tigers manager Jim Leyland strayed from his goal of not blowing up at umpires.
“That’s the maddest I’ve been in eight years,” Leyland said July 12, the day after he got ejected and declined to speak with reporters afterward.
Monday the teams meet again, and White Sox pitcher Chris Sale – a central character in the sequence of events that led to the chaos – will start the first game of the series.
On July 11 Sale threw a pitch that wound up just inches from the chin of Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder – right after Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera hit a home run. When Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen threw behind Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez after a grand slam, chaos ensued.
What peeved Leyland was that Putkonen was ejected even though no warnings had been issued, while Ramirez, who charged the mound, remained in the game.
There may not be as many fireworks as expected in this week’s rematch of the game, however, because Sale reportedly talked with Leyland and Fielder at the All-Star Game and made peace.
As far as the actual result of the game, the Tigers should have the advantage despite their 1-2 record against the White Sox this season. Detroit starting pitcher Max Scherzer gets an MLB-leading 7.29 runs on average in his starts, while Sale battles against an MLB-low 2.70 run support average.