Coming off a successful homestand against two of the better
teams in the AL, the last thing Detroit manager Jim Leyland wants
to see is his Tigers take a step back versus one of the league’s
With Rick Porcello trying to win a career-high sixth consecutive
start, the first-place Tigers look to continue their recent success
over the Royals on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
After a 12-7 loss to Los Angeles on July 28, Detroit (59-52)
took two of the next three from the Angels before winning two of
three from first-place Texas this week.
“That’s pretty good,” Leyland said.
Though the Tigers fared well on that seven-game homestand and
own a three-game lead in the Central, Leyland knows his team can’t
get comfortable – even with Kansas City on deck. Detroit has won
five of six from the last-place Royals (48-63), including three of
four at Kauffman Stadium from July 7-10.
The Royals, however, have won five of seven overall while
“Everybody thinks you’re playing Kansas City, you’re supposed to
win,” Leyland told the Tigers’ official website. “It doesn’t work
that way. We’re very respectful, believe me.”
In the opener, however, it could be the Royals who face the
biggest challenge against Porcello (11-6, 4.50 ERA).
After he went 0-3 with a 10.31 ERA in his final four June
starts, Porcello was 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA in July. He has allowed
two runs and five hits in each of his last two outings, the latest
in eight innings of a 12-2 win over the Angels last Friday.
“I’ve been trying to do a better job of mixing up my pitches,
and I think I’ve been able to keep the batters off balance,”
Though the right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA against the
Royals this season, he’s looking to win a third straight start at
Kauffman Stadium. He allowed one earned run in 5 1-3 innings of a
6-4 win there July 8.
Victor Martinez’s .212 average versus the Royals this year is
his worst against any AL opponent, but he hit .385 with five RBIs
on the recent homestand.
Martinez and the Tigers get their first look this season at
scheduled starter Felipe Paulino (1-4, 3.51), who has received four
runs of support while going 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last three
starts. The right-hander threw six scoreless innings Saturday, but
the bullpen could not hold a one-run lead in a 5-2 loss at
In his only appearance against Detroit on June 27, 2009, Paulino
allowed a run and three hits while striking out nine in seven
innings of an 8-1 win for Houston.
Paulino looks to help Kansas City to a third straight win after
Alex Gordon matched a career high with four hits and Billy Butler
drove in two runs during Thursday’s 9-4 victory over Baltimore.
Gordon, batting .324 with five RBIs versus Detroit this season,
has hit .474 with three homers and eight doubles in his last nine
“He’s as close as you can get to dominating right now,” manager
Ned Yost said.
Butler has batted .405 during a 10-game hitting streak while
driving in 19 runs – most in the majors since July 24. He’s hitting
.320 (8 for 25) with two doubles versus Porcello.