Game 12 Preview: Tigers at Royals

April 14, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (57) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers (8-3) at Kansas City Royals (3-8)

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

SB Nation Blog: Royals Review

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

Pitching Matchup: Max Scherzer (0-1, 10.38 ERA) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (1-0, 8.22 ERA)

Like the rest of the Royals pitching staff, Sanchez was awesome in his first start and brutal in his second. He only lasted 2 2/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians, giving up 5 earned runs on 6 hits, 4 walks, and a hit batter. As you can see, he had some control issues. This is nothing new; he walked 3 batters in his first start, a win against the Los Angeles Angels.

Sanchez only has one career start against the Tigers, a 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 K effort in 2008 as a member of the San Francisco Giants. The Tigers won this game 5-1 thanks to a strong start from Kenny Rogers. Todd Jones gave up 3 hits in a scoreless 9th inning. Nobody is surprised by that last sentence.

We all remember Scherzer's first start of the season; half of us are still trying to get our blood pressure back to normal levels from that 13-inning roller coaster. In his last start, Scherzer was out-dueled by Jake Peavy despite a 6 IP, 3 ER, 11 K peformance. In 10 career starts against the Royals, Scherzer is 4-4 with a 3.90 ERA.

What's wrong with Miguel Cabrera?

It's a very unpopular opinion around these parts and on Twitter, but I think that Cabrera is hurt. He tweaked his left wrist against Tampa Bay's Jake McGee and was in the midst of a 2-for-23 slump until last night's 2-for-4 performance. It hasn't seemed to affect his defense, but Cabrera's rhythm is off at the plate. Rod Allen pointed out a few differences in Cabrera's swing during the first game of this series, and it looks to me like his wrist is the root of all this evil. Hopefully last night's solid showing is all he needed to get back on track.

Outlook

Sanchez's last start is when the wheels started to come off for the Royals' rotation. He needs to rebound tonight for them to get back on track. If he leaves the ball up in the zone as often as he did against the Indians, those singles and doubles will turn into home runs against this lineup. Scherzer needs to build on his last start. He doesn't need to strike out 11 batters again, but another quality start would definitely ease the minds of most Tigers fans.

Prediction

Sanchez doesn't make it through 4 innings.

Gameday Reading:

Royals bump up Sanchez to start for Hochevar - Kansas City Star, Rustin Dodd
Naturally, this is posted AFTER I wrote a full preview post about Luke Hochevar.

Royals Notes for 4/17: K-Gun, Choo and Betancourt. - Royals Review, Jeff Zimmerman
As has been suspected in the game threads, the radar gun at Kaufmann Stadium is running a little hot.

Know Thy Enemy: 2012 Kansas City Royals - DesigNate Robertson
"Expect Gene Lamont to have his head called for at least once this series when he gets a runner thrown out by six feet at home." It was Jhonny Peralta at third base, but close enough.

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