Game 10 Preview: Tigers at Royals

March 22, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (23) throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers (6-3) at Kansas City Royals (3-6)

Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., Kauffman Stadium

SB Nation Blog: Royals Review

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (0-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

For the fourth time in the first 10 games, the Tigers will face a 20-something lefthander with a fastball in the mid-90s. Duffy is closer to the Matt Moore end of the spectrum, regularly hitting 96-97 mph on the gun with his fastball. Duffy logged a 4-8 record in 20 starts last season with a 5.64 ERA. He made 3 starts against the Tigers, giving up 10 runs in 16 total innings. Oddly enough, his worst start against the Tigers (5 IP, 5 earned runs) was the only game that the Royals won.

In his first start, Duffy shut down the Oakland A’s in the pitcher friendly [Insert Sponsor Here] Coliseum. He wasn’t particularly efficient, walking four batters and needing 103 pitches to get through 6 shutout innings. Other than a well hit drive by Daric Barton in the 2nd inning, there weren’t too many good swings by the A’s throughout the evening. One area where Duffy could get into big trouble against the Tigers is how often he worked in the upper half of the strike zone. The A’s weren’t able to take advantage, but rest assured the Tigers will be.

In the other dugout, Verlander will be looking to get the bad taste of last Wednesday's 9th inning out of his mouth. Before that, he had thrown 16 shutout innings to start the year, a far cry from Aprils past. Even last season, Verlander finished April with a 2-3 record and a 3.64 ERA. If Verlander puts together another strong start tonight, it might be safe to say that his April woes are behind him (for this season, at least).

A tired KC bullpen

The Royals started their season 3-2 behind some strong pitching efforts, giving up just 6 total runs. Since their last win -- in which Danny Duffy was on the mound -- the Royals have lost 4 straight games, including a 3-game sweep at home at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. During this 4 game stretch, they gave up 37 runs and the bullpen logged a collective 24 innings pitched. Kansas City will be looking for Duffy to go deep into the game to give the bullpen a break

Outlook

The Royals offense has shown some decent pop thus far, scoring 39 runs in 9 games. While Yuniesky Betancourt's team-leading .389 batting average is definitely a product of having just 18 at bats, guys like Jeff Francoeur and double-hitting demon Billy Butler are legitimate threats who have gotten off to fast starts. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer have struggled hitting the ball, but both are doing a decent job of drawing walks and getting on base regardless. When these two rebound and Salvador Perez comes back, this will be one of the better offenses in the American League. They do have a propensity to disappear (they have been shut out twice already this season), and with the MVP on the mound, it's possible that they will do so again tonight.

Prediction

A rain delay. I'll be surprised if this game is even played. If it is, Hosmer hits a home run. Hopefully it's a solo shot.

We may see Hosmer’s best years in KC - Kansas City Star, Sam Mellinger
"Eric Hosmer is Kansas City’s next sports star." I'm not sure about the comparisons to George Brett, but the rest is definitely feasible.

Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain goes to disabled list - Kansas City Star, Rustin Dodd
Cain was injured last week against Oakland. His replacement, OF Jarrod Dyson, has already been sent back down to AAA in exchange for another bullpen arm.

What the 99% Talk About When WE Talk Baseball - Royals Review
Be sure to read the comment section of this one. It's well worth your time.

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