Jeremy Bonderman looks to set a career high in victories, and help the Detroit Tigers begin the second half of their season the way they finished the first when they open a four-game series with the visiting Kansas City Royals.
The Tigers finished out the first half winning five of six, a stretch that included another solid performance by Bonderman. The 22-year-old right-hander pitched the Tigers to a 7-3 victory over Cleveland on July 6, allowing two runs and five hits over eight innings.
He came within three outs of his third complete-game win in four starts, and matched his career high for wins, set last year when he went 11-13 following a 6-19 rookie campaign.
“It’s a great feeling to already have 11,” said Bonderman, who improved to 5-1 in six starts since June 11.
He also became the first Detroit pitcher to win 11 games before the All-Star break since Bill Gullickson in 1991.
Kansas City’s Zack Greinke is hoping to help the Royals put a dismal first half behind them.
Greinke fell to 1-11 with a 5-4 loss to Minnesota on July 8, and has lost his last five starts. The right-hander allowed five runs in 5 2-3 innings and saw his record fall to 1-11.
“It’s like (six) straight losses now,” said Greinke, who has actually lost five straight starts. “I feel like I’m pitching better, but it doesn’t help anyway. So I don’t feel good about it.”
The Royals have played better during manager Buddy Bell’s tenure, putting together a 17-20 since he took over the team on May 31.
“I like our energy a lot. All in all, I’ve been real happy with the effort,” Bell said. “We’ve just got to get better.”