The White Sox lost 13 of 18 games against the Tigers last season, and it wasn't particularly close. The Tigers scored 111 runs against the Sox, an average of six runs scored per game and the most allowed by the Sox to any opponent. The season series wasn't a perfect representation of 2011 for the Sox -- they were better than a .278 winning percentage, to say the least -- but it was a key part of the grander scheme of failures for the club.
While it's just two games, that the Sox have already won both contests against Detroit in convincing fashion is somewhat encouraging given what the Tigers did in 2011 and how they look to shape up in 2012.
"This team feels so new and nothing from last year feels a part of last year," captain Paul Konerko explained after Saturday's 5-1 win. "So that's a good thing. But you want to win divisional games. The Tigers are going to be there, they're just too good of a team. They're going to be there. All we can hope is that we're in the mix at the end and that fight too."
But the first three White Sox-Tigers games last year went as follows: 9-3, 9-0, 3-0, all wins for Detroit. To a point, that late-April series set the tone for the season series between the two clubs.
Detroit's offense won't stay down for long, so perhaps this first meeting won't set the tone for 2012. While they've only scored three runs in two games against the White Sox, the abundance of firepower the Tigers possess will show at some point.
"Detroit obviously had a couple big series early on where they swung a lot," Konerko said. "Sometimes you catch a team in a lull, and hopefully that lasts one more day."
That's a prevailing theme in talking to White Sox players about the Tigers. There's a belief that Detroit is an excellent ballclub -- at least on paper -- with little to prove at this point.
"That was one of the more stressful games I had because there's no break in the lineup," catcher Tyler Flowers said. "Every pitch has to be a quality pitch otherwise we're going to get hurt. It's definitely good and nice to get those kinds of wins, but I definitely give the most credit to our pitchers, who held Detroit to just a couple runs. That says a lot."
As Konerko pointed out, the start of the season isn't the first week, it's the first two months. The Sox play Detroit six more times before Memorial Day -- three at home (Sunday, then May 14-15) and three on the road (May 4-6).
"Its nice to start off that way," manager Robin Ventura said. "It is April, though. But its better than losing those games and trying to say its still a long season and we hope that doesnt carry."
These two wins are a fantastic start, but the tone for the season series still has plenty of time to change early on.
"All I know for sure is that those two games are over, they're in the books," Konerko said. "Other than that, I don't know anything else."