It’s Justin time!
Tonight Justin Verlander looks to follow up his near-no-hit bid against the Angels with a win against KC (and possibly tie CC Sabathia with the AL lead at 16).
In fact Verlander still has an outside shot at the pitching triple crown: He is 2nd in wins at 15, has a solid league lead in strikeouts at 178, and has only Jered Weaver (1.78) and Josh Beckett (2.20) with ERAs better than his 2.24.
Kansas City would seem to be a good opponent in his pursuit of win 16: he has won 3 straight vs the Royals, with a 1.19 ERA.
Billy Butler is most likely to be a Royal pain: he is hitting .389 against Verlander.
Also Detroit is planning to pitch Verlander against Cleveland Thursday on 4 days rest, so, for a change, his pitch count may be an issue tonight.
KC sends out rookie starter Danny Duffy (3-4, 5.05). As always with Detroit, beware Rookie Pitcher Guy (I would love to see the Tigers’ cumulative stats against rookie pitchers).
Today’s Player of the Pre-Game: Ryan Raburn
Raburn will make the occasional brilliant play in the outfield, or nice play at 2B. Not so much at 3rd. Over the last 3 seasons he has 4 errors at 3rd (and only 7 assists) in 44 innings, so it’s been almost an error per game with him. With Verlander on the mound, the Royals are likely to try to bunt their way on. Take a deep breath.
Today’s Raburn Roulette Lineup: