Tigers Try to Match ’84 Team This Afternoon


The Tigers will look to do something today that they haven’t done since 1984. If Detroit can knock off Kansas City in this afternoon’s series finale, they will have won each of the first three series to open the season, a feat not accomplished by any Tigers team in 26 years.

In order to join that legendary team, the Tigers will need a good showing from right hander Rick Porcello, making his second start of the year, and they will need a better performance from the offense in the early part of the game. They simply cannot assume they’ll be able to continually put themselves in a five-run hole and be able to climb out of it time and again, even against the Royals bullpen.

The batters will face Royals righty Kyle Davies who allowed three runs on six hits in six innings against Boston last week. For his career, Davis has walked 4.5 batters per nine and has an ERA of 5.53. He is 1-6 (5.61 ERA) in eight career starts versus the Tigers but has pitched better at Comerica, where he is 1-1 in three starts (3.94 ERA). Similarly, in 2009 Davies worked six innings in his lone Comerica start, allowing nine hits but just two runs. Meanwhile the Tigers tuned him up for 18 hits and 12 runs in two home starts, working just 11 innings combined.

What is it about the CoPa that turns mediocre Royals into Greg Maddux?

The heart of the Tigers lineup has a history of great success versus Davies, with Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen batting a combined .361 (22 for 61) with five home runs, eight RBI and seven walks.

Even the black hole that is the bottom of the order has enjoyed seeing Davies. Gerald Laird has a homer among his five hits in 15 at bats against Davies, while Adam Everett is four for six against him. Only Brandon Inge has struggled, batting .231 in 14 at bats, then again, he hits about .231 against most pitchers.

Porcello, meanwhile has never faced the Royals at home, making all three of his starts against them in Kauffman Stadium last year. He wasn’t very good in three starts, posting a 1-1 record (5.00 ERA) over 18 innings. He allowed 15 hits, eight of them went for extra bases, and 10 earned runs.

Most of the damage in those games came from players no longer with the team, as Coco Crisp, Mark Teahen, and Mike Jacobs all had good days versus Porcello last year. The remaining Royals are a combined 12 for 54 (.222 average) against the Tigers right hander. The notables: Billy Butler 2 for 7 with a double, David DeJesus 2 for 9 with a triple, and Alberto Callaspo is 2 for 8 with a home run.

Of course, if all else fails, Detroit will simply wait out Davies and get back to feasting on that succulent dish known as the Kansas City bullpen. Something tells me they won’t be saving Joakim Soria today though. Expect to see him at some point, save situation or not.