by Ted Cox
It's a rare weekend without baseball in Chicago. All the action will be going on elsewhere (including one event I'll be writing about on Saturday). Yet, without question, the biggest game of the season in Chicago takes place in Detroit, where the first-place White Sox open a three-game series against the second-place Tigers.
The Tigers have been favored all along in the American League Central, since before they added reigning All-Star home-run-derby champion Prince Fielder. Yet they struggled early, and didn't really start rolling until they beat up on the Cubs in June.
Since then, the White Sox have played the oxymoronic role of veteran upstarts, rising to the top of the division on comeback seasons by Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham, and Jake Peavy.
So tonight's series opener couldn't be more dramatic: Detroit ace Justin Verlander, who got crushed starting the All-Star game, faces Peavy, who has been aching for years to pitch in a big game. The Sox are coming off a brutal ninth-inning loss in Boston that cut their lead over Detroit to a game and a half. So the division lead is on the line in the three-game set.
It doesn't get any better than this, and after making some pretty decent predictions so far this season—such as that Dunn would hit more homers than Fielder (he's up, 28-15)—I'm going to make another.
Whoever wins this game will win the division. You read it here first. Now go Sox, and go Jake Peavy.