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Sox bringing aggressive approach to Tigers pitchers

Sox bringing aggressive approach to Tigers pitchers

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Sox bringing aggressive approach to Tigers pitchers

DETROIT -- Detroit starting pitcher Doug Fister needed just 45 pitches to get through the first five innings of Friday's 2-1 victory. But that paltry pitch total didn't go against the White Sox offensive plan where Fister was concerned.

"The goal was to get him early obviously," said White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto of Fister. "He throws a lot of strikes and there's no reason for us to stand behind and wait for a curveball because that curveball is just as good.

"A lot of ground balls, the double plays that we had, really expedited his pitch count. He was out of it in a hurry. He had the good sinker working, a lot of good sinkers on our right-handers."

More swings early in the count were expected Saturday from the White Sox against Max Scherzer, barring a bout of wildness for the right-hander. Manto explained that the specific game approach for his offense depends in part on the opposing pitcher.

"Scouting reports come in and some guys throw a lot of strikes early in the count and we want to ambush them," Manto said. "There are some guys where we have to wait and let them spray the ball all over the place to get their pitch counts up. Certainly we follow what scouting reports say and what the computers say and then we put a plan together.

"We've run pitch counts up as well this year. You get guys like Fister and Scherzer, there's no need to wait around for secondary pitches because they are way better than their fastballs. There's no reason why we want to get after Scherzer's slider. If he throws us a first-pitch fastball and we are a fastball-hitting team, there's no reason for us to try to hit the secondary stuff."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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