Found April 24, 2013 on
Fox Sports Kansas City:
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
(AP) -- The Kansas City Royals are in an unfamiliar position atop the AL Central and hope to make a big statement against the two-time defending division champions.
That may be difficult in a place that has given them fits lately, though the Detroit Tigers are hardly playing well.
Wade Davis will try to help the Royals end their seven-game skid in Detroit in the opener of this rain-shortened series Wednesday night when he opposes Max Scherzer, whose Tigers look to avoid a fifth straight loss.
Kansas City (10-7), which hasn't won a division title since 1985, had dropped four of six before coming through with a doubleheader sweep in Boston on Sunday. Following a 4-2 victory in the opener, Billy Butler hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and Lorenzo Cain walked with the bases loaded in the 10th of a 5-4 win in the second game.
That was the last time the Royals played. With three scheduled days off and rain Tuesday providing a second postponement since Friday, Kansas City has been off five of the past nine days.
"It feels almost like getting at-bats for the first time in spring again," Butler said. "Except these ones count. I'm sure in their own respect it's affecting the pitchers, too."
Butler's team didn't have many good at-bats in losing its final seven games at Comerica Park last season, hitting .216 with seven walks and 67 strikeouts. Kansas City has lost 12 of 15 in Detroit and now looks to avoid its longest losing streak there since dropping 14 straight between 1987 and 1990.
The Tigers went 13-5 against the Royals last season but enter this three-game set having lost four straight. They've scored six runs in 54 innings over their last five games while batting .191, having suffered a three-game sweep to the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
"We have no excuses," said right fielder Torii Hunter, who was hitting .418 before going 1 for 7 in the last two games.
Hunter is 3 for 7 with two doubles against Davis (2-0, 2.25), but the right-hander enters this matchup having thrown 12 scoreless innings over his last two outings while striking out 13.
Scherzer (1-0, 2.84) also is coming off a pair of impressive starts, with 23 strikeouts over 14 innings as he limited Oakland and Seattle to two earned runs.
Scherzer is 12-2 with a 2.58 ERA in his last 23 starts - including the 2012 playoffs - and went 2-0 in three starts against the Royals last season as he gave up four runs over 17 innings.
Should the Tigers (9-9) wind up in a situation where they need a save Wednesday, they'll turn to a familiar face. Detroit on Tuesday agreed to a one-year contract with Jose Valverde, who saved 84 games for the Tigers over the past two seasons.
Detroit was ready to let Valverde leave as a free agent after his poor postseason, but he never signed elsewhere and the Tigers brought him back on a minor league deal. Valverde pitched three scoreless innings at Class-A Lakeland.
Detroit may not need Valverde, whom manager Jim Leyland said would start closing immediately, if Davis pitches like he did in his first career start at Comerica. Davis surrendered home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila and gave up five runs over six innings while not receiving a decision in a 7-6 loss for Tampa Bay in 2011.
Cabrera and Avila are a combined 4 for 17 against Davis, but each hit was a homer.
Victor Martinez has gone 1 for 9 against him while Austin Jackson is 1 for 8, and that duo is a combined 1 for 33 during Detroit's four-game skid.
Catcher Salvador Perez is 5 for 7 with a double and two homers versus Scherzer while Alex Gordon has gone 7 for 18.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
by John Viril—
1B Eric Hosmer and 3B Mike Moustakas were supposed to be the shining stars of a Kansas City Royals renaissance built around prospects. They came to Kansas City as top picks in successive drafts (Hosmer #3 2008, Moustakas #2 2007) and rose quickly through the minor league system. By 2010, they headlined a class of prospects that many considered the best collection...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Royals fans no doubt are delighting in the team's 10-7, first-place start to the season.
But if there is cause for concern anywhere it is the painfully slow starts from first baseman Eric Hosmer (.261, no homers, four RBIs) and Mike Moustakas (.158, no homers, one RBI).
There has even been suggestions on Kansas City sports-talk shows of the Royals shipping...
Jose Valverde, signed by the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, completed his comeback Wednesday by saving the Tigers’ 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals as Comerica Park. Valverde
The Tigers have a bullpen problem. Not only have their relievers been largely ineffective, but now they are dealing with depth issues after placing Octavio Dotel on the disabled list. These struggles should come as no surprise because the Tigers had bullpen problems in 2012 as well. What will come as a surprise is that the Tigers seem to think that they can solve their 2013 problems...
(AP) -- Neither the Detroit Tigers nor the Kansas City Royals saw their starting pitcher turn in a great outing in Wednesday's opener of the shortened series, both struggling through unseasonably cold conditions. With Thursday's forecast looking a bit warmer, Justin Verlander and James Shields likely have better performances in mind as they take the mound for their respective...
DETROIT Jose Valverde will return to his role as closer of the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
The team signed him Tuesday to a one-year contract after Valverde made a favorable impression on team scouts in two weekend outings in Lakeland, Fla.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he will get the ball with a lead in the ninth until further notice.
Hes done it before, and hes not afraid...
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander is among the many pitchers across the majors who have shown decreased velocity early this season, as Jeff Passan detailed in a recent story for Yahoo! Sports.
Verlander’s average fastball this season has registered 93.2 miles per hour, according to PITCHf/x data on FanGraphs.com. That’s his lowest mark in the seven seasons for which such data...
Jose Valverde, sporting a half-dyed goatee and a full windup pitching motion, tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning in his first Tigers appearance of the year, closing out a 7-5 Detroit win over Kansas City.
Less than a month after the Tigers signed Valverde to a minor-league contract, he was back in the Comerica Park bullpen and at he end of the Tigers’ bullpen. Valverde was the third of...
It was pretty clear that Jose Valverde was on the fast track to the Tigers' bullpen once he was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month. When Octavio Dotel got officially shelved on the DL yesterday with a bum elbow, Valverde's ticket back to the bigs came even sooner.
Back as the team's closer, Valverde got a chance to redeem himself from a horrid playoffs...
With his large collection of baseball memorabilia gathering dust in a storage unit, former Kansas City Royals ace Bret Saberhagen decided to auction off his two Cy Young Awards, 1985 World Series ring and MVP trophy and dozens of other items to raise money for his charity.
Saberhagen initially brushed off an offer to sell the assortment of trophies, jerseys and game-used baseballs...
Jose Valverde will return to his role as closer of the Detroit
Tigers on Wednesday., http://juicedsportsblog.com/sports-news/news/valverde-back-at-tigers-closer
Cleveland Indians (8-11) at Kansas City Royals (10-8)
Series 8, Games 20, 21, 22 and 23
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City: 0.863, Extreme pitchers park.
Friday, April 26 8:10 EDT (STO)
Scott Kazmir (0-0, 16.20 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (2-1, 2.48 ERA)
Santana now has quality starts in each of his past three appearances, a 2-1 record, 2.48 ERA...
The Tigers have a new closer (same as the old one).
And they are lucky to get him: A lot of teams wanted to sign me,” Valverde said. “Like the Yankees and Mets. A lot of teams.” Count on the Yankees to spoil the fun: Yankees GM Brian Cashman told WFAN radio: “False, false, false.” Then Buster Olney piled on and said the Mets didn’t make an offer either.
At any rate, an...
ATLANTA Pittsburgh was not kind to the Braves' MLB-best start, as the Braves dropped three games in the four-game series. Including Atlanta's last home game a 1-0 loss to Wade Davis and the Royals the team has now dropped four of its last five outings.
So what's been the difference?
Well, for starters, the offense has sputtered during the rough stretch, scoring just...