With the lone All-Star in their lineup struggling, the Tigers look to break out of their slump in the opener of a three-game series with the visiting Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
Detroit (44-37) lost 6-2 to Minnesota on Sunday, capping a 3-6 road trip that left it just two games ahead of the Twins. The Tigers hit .224 and averaged 3.6 runs during their trip.
Granderson, who was selected to the All-Star game Sunday along with Detroit starting pitchers Justin Verlander(notes) and Edwin Jackson(notes), has not been able to give Detroit a spark. The center fielder, a first-time All-Star, hit .206 (7 for 34) on the road trip and is batting .185 (10 for 54) with just two RBIs over his last 14 games.
He’s hitting .256 with 18 homers, three shy of his career high set in 2007, and 43 RBIs on the season and is considered one of baseball’s top fielders.
Galarraga earned a win in Detroit’s 5-3 victory over Oakland on Tuesday night despite matching a career high with six walks. He gave up one run and two hits while striking out five in 6 1-3 innings.
“Walking that many people is not part of the major league game,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “You just can’t do it. That’s not being upset with anybody. That’s just telling it like it is.”
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts versus the Royals.
Joel Zumaya(notes) should be available to relieve Galarraga if necessary. After throwing 53 pitches Friday night as the Tigers lost to the Twins 11-9 in 16 innings, Leyland declared the right-hander off limits for the rest of the weekend.
Kansas City (35-46) has had to rely heavily on its bullpen in recent starts made by Gil Meche(notes) (4-8, 4.20). The veteran right-hander, who will take the mound Monday, has lost three straight outings, posting a 9.42 ERA during that span.
Meche, though, showed signs of improvement in his last appearance, allowing three runs - two earned - and six hits in six innings of Kansas City’s 5-1 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday.
Meche is 8-5 with a 3.79 ERA in 19 starts against the Tigers.
Kansas City got an effective start from Brian Bannister(notes) in a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday for a split of the four-game series. The Royals have scored a combined 12 runs in winning their last two games after being held to one or none in every game of a four-game skid.
Detroit is 4-2 against the Royals this season.