With Justin Verlander pitching Sunday, the NL won’t have to face
him Tuesday at the All-Star Game in Phoenix. The Kansas City Royals
aren’t as fortunate.
Trying to rebound from his first defeat since April, Verlander
looks to continue his mastery of the Royals in the series finale at
Verlander (11-4, 2.26 ERA), named an All-Star for the fourth
time, won’t be allowed to compete Tuesday due to a MLB rule that
makes starters who pitch Sunday before the Midsummer Classic
The Tigers ace delivered another All-Star-caliber performance in
his last outing, striking out eight and throwing 7 2-3 innings of
one-run ball, but was handed his first loss since April 27.
“The good side is, you pitched pretty well,” Verlander said
following Tuesday’s 1-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels. “The
bad side is, you lost.”
The right-hander hasn’t done much of that against Kansas City,
going 11-2 with a 2.47 ERA in 17 starts. Verlander fanned seven and
yielded one run in eight innings of a 3-1 home win over the Royals
on May 13.
Scheduled to start the Tigers’ first game following the break on
Friday against the Chicago White Sox, Verlander will try to help
Detroit (48-43) end the first half strong after Saturday’s 13-6
loss prevented the club from overtaking Cleveland for the AL
The Tigers had won three in a row overall and four straight over
AL-worst Kansas City (37-53).
“It’s frustrating. But big picture, we’ve got a chance to win
the series tomorrow,” said Brennan Boesch, who finished with three
hits and two RBIs.
The Royals, meanwhile, will try to build off Saturday’s 12-hit
attack that gave them their most runs at home since a 15-7 win over
Houston on June 15, 2010.
“The top four guys in our lineup today produced a lot of
offense,” manager Ned Yost said. “We had eight or nine hits, a
bunch of RBIs – the majority of the RBIs. Billy (Butler) swung the
bat really, really well tonight, as did Melky (Cabrera), and (Alex
Gordon) Gordo with the big three-run homer was key.”
Cabrera is hitting .486 (17 for 35) during an eight-game hitting
streak, and Gordon is 12 for 33 while hitting safely in all eight
games against Detroit in 2011.
Jeff Francis (3-9, 4.69) would appreciate if those streaks
continued as he goes for his first win in five starts.
The veteran left-hander, who did not earn a decision in Monday’s
5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox after giving up two runs in six
innings, gets his second look at the Tigers this season. He went
eight innings in a 3-0 loss at Detroit on May 14, yielding three
runs and seven hits.
Francis could see the Tigers’ regular lineup in the finale after
manager Jim Leyland sat All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Brandon
Inge and Magglio Ordonez on Saturday.
Yost is expected to get Mike Moustakas in the game after sitting
the slumping rookie third baseman Saturday. Moustakas will try to
snap his 0-for-21 skid in his first matchup against Verlander.
Butler’s .394 batting average (13 for 33) off the Tigers
right-hander is the highest among all players Verlander has faced
at least 33 times.
All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera, 2 for 11 in the series,
has two hits in 10 at-bats versus Francis.