American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, August 15th
(All times Eastern)
Kansas City Royals (62-56) at Detroit Tigers (70-49), 7:08 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Jeremy Guthrie (12-8, 4.10)
Detroit - Anibal Sanchez (10-7, 2.58)
(Sports Network) - Both the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals have
followed up a hot stretch with some recent struggles.
The two AL Central rivals begin a five-game series that spans four days, with
the Royals hoping to make up some ground on the first-place Tigers in
Detroit owns a six-game edge over Cleveland for the top spot in the division
and is 7 1/2 games ahead of Kansas City, which trails the AL's second wild
card spot by 4 1/2 contests. That makes this a big series for both teams and
they'll see plenty of each other with a doubleheader on tap for Friday.
The Royals thrust themselves back into the playoff picture by winning each of
their first seven series following the All-Star break. That includes taking
two of three from the Tigers at home from July 19-21, giving them a 5-3
advantage in the season series.
Kansas City won for the 17th time in 20 games by winning Monday's opener with
the Miami Marlins, but had its string of series victories snapped after losing
the final two games of the set. That gave the Royals back-to-back losses for
the first time since July 21-22 and a 6-4 record on a 10-game homestand.
"It's a tough one to swallow, but at the same time we've just got to look
ahead. We've got five games in Detroit and we can make up some serious
ground," said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer following Wednesday's 5-2
setback to the Marlins.
The Tigers prevented the Royals from gaining too much ground in the AL Central
by winning 12 straight from July 26-Aug. 8. However, they are just 2-4 in six
games since the streak and needed Wednesday's 6-4 victory to avoid getting
swept in three games by the last-place Chicago White Sox.
Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer in yesterday's win and leads the majors
with a .360 batting average and 114 RBI. He is also second with 38 homers
despite a nagging abdominal strain as well as some other bumps and bruises.
"Hopefully we can get him healthy because as the manager, you almost feel bad,
to be honest with you, playing him, because I can see that he's hurting some,"
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But he wanted to play today and I put him in
Cabrera is 11-for-32 (.344) lifetime versus tonight's starter for the Royals,
Jeremy Guthrie, with three homers and eight RBI.
Guthrie had a string of four straight winning starts snapped on Saturday with
a 5-3 loss to Boston. He allowed all five runs on 10 hits over six innings of
work, striking out five while logging a career-high 123 pitches.
The right-hander, now 12-8 with a 4.10 earned run average in 24 starts this
season, had given up just three runs over his previous three starts, though
his winning streak began with a 6-5 win over Detroit on July 20. Guthrie
allowed five runs on 10 hits over six innings in that game as well, leaving
the 34-year-old 7-3 lifetime in this matchup with a 4.06 ERA in 16 games (13
The Tigers counter with Anibal Sanchez, who has given up two runs or fewer in
five straight and eight of his past nine starts.
The right-handed Sanchez won his third straight decision on Saturday, holding
the New York Yankees to a pair of runs on four hits and a walk over seven
innings. He also struck out eight while improving to 10-7 with a 2.58 ERA in
20 starts this season.
Sanchez, 29, lost at Kansas City on July 19 despite six innings of one-run
ball. He minimized the damage despite four hits and five walks allowed, but
dropped a 1-0 decision.
Sanchez has allowed just two runs over 22 career innings versus the Royals,
posting a 0.82 ERA in three starts but producing just a 1-2 record.
08/15 10:29:25 ET