A matchup Monday against the struggling Kansas City Royals—a team Verlander has dominated—may be just what the reigning AL Rookie of the Year needs to get his first win of the season.
Verlander (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has allowed one unearned run and five hits in 13 innings this season, but remains winless mainly because the Tigers (7-5) have scored only one run while he’s been on the mound.
The lack of offensive support does not seem to bother Verlander.
“It’s not an issue,” the 24-year-old right-hander told the Tigers’ official Web site. “As long as the team wins, it doesn’t matter to me.”
He gave up three hits in seven innings on Wednesday against Baltimore, but the game went scoreless through 11 innings before the Tigers won 4-1 in the 12th.
“I did all I could to keep us in the game and the relievers did all they could,” said Verlander, who won 17 games last season. “That was a big part of the win.”
Verlander has been outstanding in four career starts against the Royals (3-9), holding them to two earned runs in 27 innings. He allowed one unearned run and two hits in six innings at Kansas City on April 6, but did not receive a decision in the 3-1 loss.
Verlander won his previous three starts versus the Royals.
The Tigers are coming off a split of their four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays, having lost Sunday’s finale 2-1.
“We just didn’t get our bats going,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after his team was held to three hits while scoring only one run for the second time in three games.
The Royals are coming off an abbreviated series against Baltimore after Sunday’s game was postponed due to bad weather. The way Kansas City has played recently, the team might not mind.
The Royals have lost four straight and were outscored 16-6 in three games against the Orioles.
“Maybe a break will help,” manager Buddy Bell said. “Sometimes, getting a little out of a routine helps. It’s not always as bad as it seems. We’ve just got to try to figure out how to level it off. Right now, my concern is getting us back on track and getting some guys going that are struggling right now.”
Saturday’s 6-4 loss dropped Kansas City to 1-5 on its road trip, which concludes with this series against the Tigers. The Royals had a 4-2 lead entering the sixth, but reliever Joel Peralta gave up a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the inning.
Zack Greinke (1-1, 1.38) takes the mound Monday after his scheduled start Sunday was rained out. The right-hander allowed one run and six hits in six innings of a 6-3 win at Toronto on Tuesday.
Greinke is 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in nine appearances, including seven starts, against the Tigers. His only win in three big-league games last season came against Detroit.
The Royals suffered two one-run losses to the Tigers after winning the opener in the first series of the season between the teams.