After losing to Royals last week, Tigers' Fulmer is eager for a rematch
DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer doesn't mind facing the team that pounded him in his last start for the second time in a week. He is eager to get another shot at the streaking Kansas City Royals.
The Detroit Tigers' second-year right-hander gave up eight runs (five earned) in a career-low 2 2/3 innings Thursday. The rough outing against Kansas City snapped his personal four-game winning streak.
Fulmer will face the Royals again Tuesday night, with the main differences being the venue and the momentum of the opponent. Kansas City owns a six-game winning streak after beating Detroit 5-3 in 12 innings on Monday.
The switch to Comerica Park from Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium meets with Fulmer's approval.
"A great thing, especially since we're going to face them a lot more times, too, and being a division opponent," Fulmer said of the quick rematch. "I've just got to go out there and try to do better than the last time."
That shouldn't be too difficult, considering that Fulmer (10-7, 3.35 ERA) ranks second in the American League with 16 quality starts. The temperature should be in the 75-80-degree range, a welcome relief from the high heat and humidity he experienced in Kansas City.
"I'm always trying to work on stuff, but last time out it was 37 pitches in the first inning and 100-degree heat," said Fulmer, who is 2-3 with a 3.32 ERA in six career outings against the Royals. "You get tired real quick, so my second and third innings I wasn't crisp. I think it just boils down to the fact I threw way too many pitches in that first inning."
He probably will cut down on costume changes as well.
"I went through a few jerseys," he said. "Nothing seemed to work."
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who handled the heat better than Fulmer that night, will oppose Fulmer again. Duffy (6-6, 3.71 ERA) pitched four scoreless innings before he gave up four runs in the fifth, his final inning. He has made four starts since being sidelined for over a month with an oblique strain and has a 2-2 record in those outings.
Duffy's return has solidified the rotation.
"It was a key for us," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "We needed to get him back, especially the quality of his arm and the way he goes and competes. We definitely missed him, so it was great to get him back in our rotation."
Duffy's control has been impeccable since he returned. He has not issued a walk to the last 81 batters he has faced, a streak that dates to July 4.
He is 6-7 with a 4.01 ERA against Detroit in his career.
"His last two outings, he went 8 1/3 innings and ended up losing the game (to Texas) 1-0," Yost said. "His last start, he went (five innings) but that was in the oppressive heat and he kind of wore down a little bit. Kansas City went through a real heat wave, but he's been throwing the ball really, really well."
The Royals have been playing really, really well to keep the heat on the American League Central-leading Cleveland Indians, whose lead is 1 1/2 games.
Kansas City's bullpen has tossed 24 2/3 scoreless innings over the past five games.
"We always compete to win," said catcher Salvador Perez, who had the go-ahead homer Monday. "We always play hard, and the bullpen is doing a tremendous job for us. They hold it right there, and they give you an opportunity to try to win the game."