So, are they gonna fight? Runelvys goes on Saturday.
Detroit comes to KC struggling, winning only one of their last seven. Of course, next to the Royals, that record qualifies as a success. The difference with the Tigers is before their recent slide, they were actually flirting with a .500 record and some respectability. They are three years into their youth movement and the heat is on Alan Trammell as many in Motown feel that the improvement from their 119-loss season back in 2003 hasn’t been enough.
The Tigers are one of those teams that are difficult to pin down. They’re good enough to be a .500 club, but they have yet to put together a sustained run of victories. They were 11-11 in April, 12-15 in May, 13-13 in June and 14-15 in July. That’s some consistency.
Their starting pitching is alright, with an ERA of 4.50 and their bullpen has been surprisingly good with an ERA of 3.50. The proof of the strength of the bullpen comes from a 39-7 record when leading after six innings. This club doesn’t cough up that many leads, which could spell trouble for the Royals given their recent history of falling behind early.
FRI - Jason Johnson (7-9, 4.06) vs. Jose Lima (4-10, 6.84)
SAT – Mike Maroth (9-11, 4.89) vs. Runelvys Hernandez (8-10, 4.93)
SUN – Sean Douglass (4-2, 4.08) vs. Mike Wood (3-4, 3.82)
Magglio Ordonez is a Royal killer. In a little over 100 lifetime games against the Royals, Ordonez has a line of .328/.378/.559 with an OPS of .937. No wonder he opted to stay in the AL Central. Well, that and the fact the Tigers panicked and overpaid him.
Ordonez missed the first couple of months due to a hernia, but has played awfully well since his return. From July 1st to the present, he has 36 base hits, the most in the AL in that stretch. Since the All-Star break, he has been one of the top hitters in all of baseball, posting splits of .353/.407/.500.
Pudge Rodriguez missed the last four games due to a suspension and you have to wonder if the time off will help him rejuvenate his game. He’s struggled since the break, going .298/.295/.464. And no, we didn’t transpose the BA and the OBP numbers. His on base percentage is actually less than his batting average.
Placido Polanco has hit safely in 31 of his 40 games since joining the Tigers…Chris Shelton was their player of the month for July…Carlos Guillen is coming out of a slump going 11 for his last 35, after enduring a 9-53 stretch…Brandon Inge has fallen back to Earth after a hot start to the season. He’s .202/.278/.340 since the All-Star break.
ROYALS TO WATCH
Battling a slump over the last couple of weeks, David DeJesus has to be pleased to see the Tigers come to town. He has been nails against Detroit this season, going .395/.478/.632 in the 10 games between the two teams.
Mike Sweeney on the other hand has struggled with only eight hits in 40 at bats.
And did we mention Runelvys pitches on Saturday?
Both photos AP Photo/Duane Burleson
July 17, 2005