Tigers travel to Kansas City for matchup of cellar dwellers

The Detroit Tigers have not won two consecutive games since the end of May.

The Kansas City Royals have put together one winning streak, a modest string of three games, since May 22.

It will be a case of the resistible force against the movable object when two of the major league's weakest teams square off during a weekend series in Kansas City.

If not for the 27-win Baltimore Orioles, the Tigers (28-57) and Royals (30-61) would own the worst records in the American League heading into the second half.

If misery loves company, the Tigers and Royals can take solace that they'll face each other 10 times after the All-Star break.

The Tigers don't have a starter listed for Friday's series opener but they're hopeful rookie right-hander Spencer Turnbull can return to action.

Turnbull gave the franchise a big scare when his velocity dropped in his last start on June 27 against Texas. He was taken out after two innings but an MRI exam came back clean and he was diagnosed with shoulder fatigue.

The Tigers have lost eight of the last nine games Turnbull (3-8) has started, even though his ERA is a healthy 3.31. Turnbull has no decisions in three career starts against Kansas City despite a 1.42 ERA.

Detroit's most recognizable player, Miguel Cabrera, blew off some steam the last game prior to the break. He was ejected after one at-bat, then popped off in the media afterward about the umpires and critics who question his leadership skills.

"I don't like to argue strikes and balls, because it's wrong," Cabrera said to MLB.com and other reporters. "But at some point, you have to be fair. This year, since we have a young team, I've seen so many times that we're getting strikes called that are out of the zone."

The Tigers could get even worse if they deal some of their top players -- left-handed starter Matthew Boyd, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos and All-Star closer Shane Greene -- prior to the trade deadline. Cabrera hopes the front office at least holds onto Boyd.

"I don't know why people are saying we're going to trade him. We need him," Cabrera said. "We need him because we have a lot of young guys in the minor leagues that can come together, and Boyd can help. He can be really good."

Left-hander Danny Duffy is scheduled to start for Kansas City on Friday. Duffy (3-5, 4.28 ERA) has not been credited with a victory since May 19, though he's delivered four quality outings in his last five starts. He held Cleveland to two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings in his last start on July 3.

He's 8-10 with a 4.39 ERA in 26 career appearances (23 starts) against Detroit.

The Royals lost 5-2 on Sunday to Washington in their last game.

"Been the tale of the season," All-Star Whit Merrifield told MLB.com. "Playing well, but not winning games. Hopefully, we get it turned around there."

Merrifield went hitless in two All-Star at-bats but he said afterwards that it was "everything I hoped it would be."

--Field Level Media