Detroit (49-49) at Kansas City (45-54)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 30° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Mon Jul 21, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If the Detroit Tigers are going to mount a serious run at the AL Central title, they’ll need to beat teams like the Kansas City Royals.

The Tigers look to defeat the Royals for the first time in 10 months when the teams open a three-game series Monday at Kauffman Stadium.

Detroit (49-49), considered a preseason favorite to compete for its first division crown since 1987, is third in the Central, six games behind Minnesota and 6 1/2 back of first-place Chicago.

The Tigers might be in better position if not for an 0-6 record against the fourth-place Royals (45-54). Detroit, which has been outscored 26-11 in the season series, dropped all three games at Kansas City from May 13-15 after winning 15 of its previous 18 visits there.

The Tigers produced 10 hits in beating Baltimore 5-1 on Sunday to gain a split in a four-game road set.

Detroit hit .308 with eight homers and 25 runs during the series.

Magglio Ordonez, who went 2-for-5 with a solo home run Sunday, is batting .356 (16-for-45) with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 11 games.

The right fielder has struggled along with his team against the Royals, though, going 6-for-24 (.250) with no homers and one RBI in the season series. He posted a .385 average (25-for-65) with two homers and 13 RBIs against Kansas City a year ago.

In need of a fifth starter, the Tigers will give Zach Miner (3-3, 4.23 ERA) a chance to claim the role.

The right-hander will get his first start of 2008, after being used 32 times out of the bullpen. He’s been impressive in relief over his last 19 games, going 2-1 with a 0.68 ERA after posting a 1-2 record and 9.33 ERA in his first 13 appearances of the season.

Miner has started 17 games over three seasons, going 7-7 with a 5.08 ERA. He hasn’t started a game since a loss at Boston on May 17, 2007.

Miner is 0-2 with an 8.36 ERA in eight games - two starts - against Kansas City. Both losses came in starts, as he was pounded for 10 runs and 13 hits in 4 2-3 total innings.

The Royals are looking to win a third consecutive game after beating the White Sox 8-7 on Sunday to win that three-game series.

They’ll give the ball to Luke Hochevar (6-7, 5.10), who seeks his second consecutive win.

The right-hander was solid in his last outing on July 11, yielding one run and five hits in seven innings of a 3-1 win over Seattle. That performance came after he lost consecutive starts while getting reached for 13 runs and 15 hits in 10 innings.

“After a couple of rough outings, the way you get your confidence back, the way you get back on the saddle is by trusting your talent,” Hochevar said. “I trusted my stuff. I was aggressive in the strike zone.”

Hochevar is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in career two games - one start - against the Tigers. He beat them at home on May 14, allowing four hits in six innings of a 2-0 victory.

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Starting Pitchers

Z. Miner Sea vs. L. Hochevar KC
8-5 Record 6-12
4.27 ERA 5.51
62 K 72
46 BB 47
1.39 WHIP 1.47


Monday, Jul 21