Series Preview – Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals
The Tigers managed to sweep the Blue Jays and beat the Angels, after dropping an embarrassing series to the Baltimore Orioles. Yet through it all, they couldn’t pull any closer to the Chicago White Sox. Now it’s onto Kansas City, and some (hopefully) easy wins. It may not be a cakewalk, though, as the Royals haven’t been as bad as usual lately, managing to beat the White Sox at home a week ago.
Tuesday – 8/28/12
Justin Verlander vs. Luis Mendoza
Justin Verlander needs to get some run support, and fast. He’s suffering from a lot of no-decisions, despite the fact that he continues to pitch like the Verlander everyone loves. He’s been struggling to get runs so much that Max Scherzer is now the team leader in wins, and Rick Porcello is getting close. But he’s still Justin Verlander, and the Royals are his bread and butter. He’s 14-2 lifetime against them, with a 2.36 ERA. Whether at Comerica Park or Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City poses no threat to Justin Verlander.
I think Luis Mendoza is lost. He belongs in hockey, with the Mighty Ducks. (For those who don’t understand the reference, Mike Vitar played Luis Mendoza in Mighty Ducks 2 & 3. Insignificant references are awesome.) As far as his season’s going, it’s not strong. At 7-9 with a 4.26 ERA, he has a lot of work to do. In 15 innings against the Tigers, he’s 1-1, with an 8.80 ERA. So how he got a win, I don’t understand. But with an ERA that high, Detroit is looking to put the hurt on in Game 1.
Wednesday – 8/29/12
Anibal Sanchez vs. Bruce Chen
Sanchez looked like he was finally getting his feet under him the last time out, going seven strong innings against the Blue Jays. But one outing could easily be the exception, not the rule. He’ll need at least three straight decent starts to convince me that he was worth the price Detroit paid to get him. Hopefully it bodes well that he’s never faced the Royals before. An element of surprise might give him that second quality start.
Bruce Chen has been a bane of the Detroit offense in recent years, but things seem to be back to normal this season. His ERA is relatively elevated in recent outings, so combining that with a career 6.10 ERA against the Tigers, and Detroit better put some serious runs up on the board.
Thursday – 8/30/12
Rick Porcello vs. Jeremy Guthrie
Rick has been getting a little better this season, but he still gives up a lot of hits that turn into runs. He’s taken a step towards becoming a bit more consistent this season (although his win total might not get to where it was last season). His style plays much better to a strong defensive team, so he may never see the hit totals drop. But he can try. Adding a strikeout pitch would help, and trying to get a few more balls popped up (while not necessarily losing the slider that’s served him so well in his short career). Rick’s had decent success against Kansas City, though. He’s 5-2, with a 4.56 ERA, which bodes well for the Detroit offense in the game, which could end up bringing them home with a five-game win streak before the pivotal weekend series with the White Sox.
Jeremy Guthrie has had a long career already, which included taking a no-hitter late into the game recently. He’s found new life with the Royals, and is looking to continue succeeding. He’s only had moderate success against Detroit, though, going 3-3 lifetime with a 4.18 ERA. He’ll be relying on the Royals to give him some real run support, but he’s going to have an uphill battle, considering how well Porcello has done in his career against Kansas City.
Game 1: Tigers
Game 2: Tigers
Game 3: Tigers
Final: Tigers sweep the series 3-0
I know it’s a stretch, especially with Miguel Cabrera still nursing two tender ankles. But Verlander and Porcello can get it done, and I think that Sanchez can out-pitch Chen this time around. Hopefully they can all get it done, and for sure bring home that five-game win streak before taking on the White Sox at Comerica Park.