Detroit (1-0) at Kansas City (0-1)

Cloudy Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Wed Apr 7, 2010
  • TV: FSKC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Detroit Tigers needed a late rally to earn a win on opening day. They’re banking on Max Scherzer(notes) to make sure they don’t get in that position too often when he takes the mound.

Scherzer, the prize acquisition for the Tigers in a trade that left them without two All-Stars, takes on the Kansas City Royals in his home state Wednesday night.

Detroit won 10 games last season when trailing after six innings. The Tigers opened this season with one such victory, scoring six runs in the seventh to beat Kansas City 8-4 on Monday.

Rookie Austin Jackson(notes) and Johnny Damon(notes) combined for three runs and three RBIs for Detroit. Damon was signed as a free agent from the Yankees to give some support atop the order for the 23-year-old Jackson, the new center fielder after All-Star Curtis Granderson(notes) was traded to the New York Yankees as part of a three-way deal in December.

The Tigers also sent All-Star pitcher Edwin Jackson(notes) to Arizona in the trade, getting Diamondbacks pitchers Scherzer (9-11, 4.12 ERA) and Daniel Schlereth(notes) in return.

Scherzer, a native of St. Louis, starred at Missouri before becoming a Diamondbacks first-round pick in 2006. He’s coming off his first full season as a starting pitcher, striking out 174 in 170 1-3 innings.

The right-hander won his only appearance against the Royals, allowing two runs in six innings of a 12-5 Arizona victory June 17.

If Scherzer falters, Detroit should feel confident going back to its bullpen after four relievers combined to pitch four scoreless innings Monday.

Joel Zumaya(notes), in his first regular-season appearance since July, got the victory. Zumaya, who had extensive surgery on his right shoulder, once reached 103 mph on the radar gun.

“I can’t feel any better right now,” Zumaya said. “Can’t feel any better.”

Kansas City’s bullpen struggled, with Robinson Tejeda(notes), Juan Cruz(notes) and former Tiger Roman Colon(notes) allowing six hits and six runs in the seventh.

“We’ve got to get somebody to take the ball and give us what we need in the seventh and eighth innings,” manager Trey Hillman said. “It is our responsibility with the guys we have to get them over the hump as early as we can and as often as we can.”

With Gil Meche(notes) (shoulder) on the disabled list, Kansas City will send out Luke Hochevar(notes) (7-13, 6.55), who should be fine after taking a comebacker off his left ankle in a spring training game Friday night.

“No issues, no worries,” he said.

Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, has been underwhelming in his first two full seasons, going 13-25 with a 6.06 ERA. The right-hander lost his final three starts last season, posting a 13.50 ERA.

Hochevar, however, did have some bright spots, including an 80-pitch, complete-game win over Cincinnati on June 12. He’s 1-2 with a 6.87 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance against the Tigers.

Kansas City had a 4-2 lead Monday when Zack Greinke(notes) departed following six strong innings. The Royals didn’t have anyone in their lineup who was in the same position on opening day last year.

Cleanup hitter Rick Ankiel(notes), signed as a free agent from St. Louis, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. He struggled through injuries last season, hitting .231 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 122 games.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Scherzer Was vs. L. Hochevar KC
12-11 Record 6-6
3.50 ERA 4.81
184 K 76
70 BB 37
1.25 WHIP 1.43


Wednesday, Apr 7