Detroit Tigers (36-29) vs. Kansas City Royals (36-32) — 7:08 PM EDT
Comerica Park — Detroit, MI
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for radio affiliates)
Weather: 84 degrees, partly cloudy
The Detroit Tigers have been floundering since starting the season with the major league’s best record of 27-12. We don’t need to remind Tigers’ fans of this, but it should be interesting to see just how the Tigers will respond facing a legitimate threat to first place, the position they have owned fairly comfortably every day of the season thus far.
The second place Kansas City Royals come into this rain lengthened four-game series (adding a game on Thursday to make up for an April weather postponement) winners of seven straight and coming in directly off a weekend series sweep of the White Sox in Chicago.
The Tigers come in winners of two straight and three of their last four as they try to pick up the pieces of a disastrous stretch that has allowed everyone in the AL Central to get back into contention. It will remain to be seen if the Royals, the latest team to move into second place this season (all four teams have spent numerous times there), can stay there or even overtake Detroit for first place.
When We Last Met
The Tigers have had little trouble with the Royals thus far this season, going 5-0. While their two April games in Detroit were close, with the Tigers winning in walk-off fashion on each day, it was not so close in an early May series in Kansas City. Detroit outscored KC by a collective score of 26 to 8 in the three-game sweep from May 2 to 4.
Justin Verlander (6-6, 4.61) will take the mound for the Tigers on Monday night as the former ace continues to try to battle through the worst stretch of his career. J.V. has allowed five or more runs five times in his last six outings, and in the one outing he didn’t allow at least five, he allowed three runs. The last couple starts for Verlander showed promise early. His strikeouts and velocity have both gone up, and his control has been better, but there have been instances in each recent start where he hit trouble and was unable to get out of it. This happened last Wednesday when he entered the sixth with a 1-1 tie and was charged with six runs in the 8-2 Tigers loss to the White Sox. Justin faced the Royals twice already this season, allowing five runs over 13 innings.
Jason Vargas (6-2, 3.30) hasn’t lost in nearly a month and looks to atone for a terrible game pitched against the Tigers on May 3. He was tagged for seven runs on eight hits and failed to get out of the fifth inning in the 9-4 Tigers’ victory. He was much better in Detroit in his prior start, allowing just one run in a no-decision. Three starts after the seven-run outing against Detroit, he allowed seven runs again, this time to the White Sox. Since that start, Vargas has allowed just seven runs over 28 innings, going 2-0 in four starts.
- Rajai Davis-LF
- Ian Kinsler-2B
- Miguel Cabrera-1B
- Victor Martinez-DH
- Torii Hunter-RF
- Austin Jackson-CF
- Nick Castellanos-3B
- Alex Avila-C
- Eugenio Suarez-SS
- Luke Putkonen – Out indefinitely
- Joel Hanrahan – Out indefinitely
- Andy Dirks – 60-day DL
- Jose Iglesias – Out for season
- Bruce Rondon – Out for season
Kansas City Royals