Watch Tonight: Royals at Tigers

(AP) — Despite his team being long out of the playoff race, Detroit’s Austin Jackson has made a good case for rookie of the year honors. Max Scherzer, whom the Tigers acquired in the same trade as Jackson, is also making a solid contribution.

Scherzer looks to extend his strong recent play when he and the Tigers close a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

Detroit (76-75) acquired Jackson from the Yankees organization last December in a three-team trade that also brought Scherzer (11-10, 3.54 ERA) from Arizona. Jackson is a leading candidate for AL rookie of the year, batting .298 with 98 runs scored.

He went 0 for 4 in the Tigers’ 9-6 loss Tuesday, dropping his average below .300 for the first time since it was .296 on April 11. Detroit’s four-game winning streak ended despite home runs from Ryan Raburn and Miguel Cabrera, as pitchers Armando Galarraga and Alfredo Figaro combined for three errors.

“You can not make those kind of mistakes, and we’ve been doing it all season,” manager Jim Leyland said. “You keep harping on this with the pitchers, but it is like they don’t listen.”

The Tigers have to like their chances of bouncing back with Scherzer on the mound. The right-hander has been outstanding over the last two months, going 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Scherzer recorded his first win in four outings Friday, giving up two hits – a pair of solo home runs – in eight innings of a 9-2 win over the White Sox.

“He’s been one of the best pitchers in the league,” Leyland said. “The biggest thing for Scherzer is that he’s not afraid to throw any of his pitches at any time.”

Scherzer is 0-2 despite a respectable 3.94 ERA in three starts against the Royals (62-88) this season.

He’ll try to cool off the Royals’ offense, which had three players finish with three hits Tuesday. Mike Aviles, who drove in three runs, is 18 for 36 with 10 RBIs in his last eight games.

Kansas City is batting .331 over its last 10 contests, totaling 60 runs in that span although it’s only managed a 5-5 record.

“This was a good game for us,” manager Ned Yost said. “We’ve had trouble scoring runs, but in the last few games we’ve been hitting the ball better. We will single you to death, but the power and run scoring had been lacking. Now I hope it continues.”

Kansas City will hand the ball to Kyle Davies (8-10, 5.08), who has lost three of his last five starts. He gave up five runs in five innings of an 11-4 loss to Cleveland on Friday.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 5.71 ERA in three starts against Detroit this season.

The Royals need a win Wednesday to salvage a second straight split of the season series with the Tigers.


STATS Writer