Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 7/6/12
(AP) -- The Detroit Tigers are slowly starting to win against left-handed starters - but not thanks to Ryan Raburn. The Tigers are expected to stick with the struggling Raburn in Friday night's opener of a three-game home set with the Kansas City Royals. In a quirk of scheduling, Detroit (41-42) is in the midst of what will be five straight contests in which the opposing starter is left-handed. The Tigers won the first two of those games - both against Minnesota - to improve to 10-13 on the season versus southpaw starters. They are scheduled to face exclusively left-handed starters this weekend against the Royals (37-44). Manager Jim Leyland - whose club has a chance Friday to reach .500 for the first time since it was 18-18 on May 15 - continues to start Raburn, who is hitting .173 overall and .169 against left-handers. The second baseman has become a focal point for criticism, with his manager telling the Tigers' official website Wednesday that "if Raburn doesn't help us against left-handers, then we have issues." Raburn went 0 for 3 off Twins southpaw Scott Diamond in Thursday's 7-3 win. "In order for us to do what we need to do, Ryan Raburn, not alone, Jhonny Peralta and Delmon Young have to help us out against left-hand pitching more," Leyland said. "That's what I said and you can put that on Twitter, you can put it on eBay, you can do whatever the hell you want with it. But that's what it is." Peralta is hitting .214 against lefties while Young is at .303. Prince Fielder hasn't had any such issues, batting .307 against lefties. He greeted southpaw Minnesota reliever Tyler Robertson with a three-run homer to snap an eighth-inning tie Thursday as part of a five-run rally. Fielder and fellow All-Star Miguel Cabrera each have five RBIs over the last two games. Cabrera ranks among the AL leaders with a .345 average against left-handers. The Tigers hope to have better success against Jonathan Sanchez (1-4, 6.80 ERA), who has a 1.80 ERA and no decisions in two starts this season versus Detroit while limiting the Tigers to five hits over 10 innings. Fielder has the most experience among Detroit hitters against him, going 6 for 19. Sanchez's winless drought reached nine starts Saturday as he gave up six runs over 4 1-3 innings of a 7-2 road loss to the Twins. He issued six walks for the second straight outing. "It's a slump, you know," Sanchez said. "It's not working. I'm not doing anything that's working right now." Detroit is 4-1 against Kansas City this year, despite the fact Raburn has gone 1 for 14 in those games. The Tigers will start rookie Drew Smyly (3-3, 4.54), who is 0-2 with a 4.05 ERA in five home starts. The left-hander gave up three runs over five innings Sunday to earn a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay. His lone start against the Royals was a good one, as he yielded one unearned run over six innings of a 3-1, April 17 victory in which he did not earn a decision. Catcher Salvador Perez has hit safely in all 11 games he's played for the Royals, going 17 for 40. He had a career-high four hits Thursday in a 9-6 win at Toronto. Kansas City is 3-5 on an 11-game road trip. Detroit has dropped five straight Friday night contests.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker