Royals-Tigers Preview


Again tied atop the AL Central standings, the Detroit Tigers hope they're able to make the most of their latest opportunity.

Even with Kansas City's Jeremy Guthrie standing in their way, the Tigers have a chance to take sole possession of the division lead Wednesday night when they try for a sixth straight home win over the Royals.

Anibal Sanchez struck out 10 while tossing a three-hitter Tuesday in Detroit's 2-0 win over Kansas City. That victory, coupled with Chicago's 4-3 loss to Cleveland earlier in the day, left the Tigers (82-72) and White Sox tied atop the Central.

"Nothing is over, nothing is in,'' Sanchez said. "We're right there.''

The last time those clubs were tied atop the division was Sept. 2, when Detroit proceeded to drop six of its next seven to fall three games behind the White Sox. The Tigers have since won nine of 14 to square the division race but likely can't afford to take another step back.

"We control our own destiny. We've just got to continue to play good baseball,'' catcher Gerald Laird said. "We don't have to rely on anybody to beat anybody now. It's all on our shoulders.''

Detroit, which concludes its regular season in Kansas City next week, has outscored the Royals 38-18 while going 6-1 against them at Comerica Park.

Guthrie (7-12, 4.80 ERA), however, is 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA in nine starts since losing to Texas on Aug. 3. The Royals (70-84) have won each of those contests during that stretch.

The right-hander allowed three runs - one earned - in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 4-3 win over Chicago on Thursday.

Guthrie gave up four runs and eight hits in three innings of a 5-0 loss at Detroit on June 17, but gave up one run without a walk in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1 home win over the Tigers on Aug. 30.

Detroit star Miguel Cabrera is batting .368 (7 for 19) with two home runs versus Guthrie. In the midst of a potential triple crown season, Cabrera had his 14-game hitting streak snapped after going 0 for 3 on Tuesday.

He leads the AL with a .329 average and 133 RBIs, and his career-high 42 homers trail only Texas' Josh Hamilton.

Teammate Delmon Young is 4 for 8 with an RBI in the series.

Rick Porcello (9-12, 4.57) makes his first start in more than a week for the Tigers. The right-hander's last start Friday was postponed due to rain, then the team decided to skip his turn entirely.

Porcello, 0-6 with a 4.42 ERA in seven starts since beating the Yankees on Aug. 7, gave up four runs - two earned - in 4 2-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 7-6 loss at Cleveland on Sept. 16.

"It's frustrating," Porcello told the Tigers' official website.

He is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA against the Royals this season.

Batting .346 (9 for 26) with a homer against Porcello, Alex Gordon had one of the Royals' three hits Tuesday. He's hitting .370 (10 for 27) in his last seven games against the Tigers.