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Open Thread - Game 96: Royals (42-54) at Tigers (58-37)

Brian Bannister (5-6, 3.87) vs. Nate Robertson (6-6, 4.53), 1:05 p.m. EST

After ending last night's 10-inning slog with a walk-off home run, the Tigers go for the series win this afternoon against those pesky Kansas City Royals. And I mean "pesky" in the nicest way. These guys are no pushover. Ask Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams if they hear the Royals knocking, and if they think they're coming in. A Royals win today, by the way, would mean they've taken their last two series from the Red Sox and Tigers, respectively.

Nate Robertson was superb in his last start, and I don't use that word in my everyday vocabulary. (Except when I find a good sale on shoes, of course.) But how else would you describe no runs and three hits over seven innings? If he follows that up with another good outing today, I think we can most certainly put that "tired arm" stuff to rest.

For the Royals, Brian Bannister has lost three of his last four starts. And when he loses, it's usually not close. We're talking 14 runs allowed in 18 innings. I suppose you could argue he hasn't gotten much help lately, however, as he's been on the business end of a 4-0 score in two straight games.

Lineups will be posted in the comments. Omar Infante starts at second base today for Placido Polanco. And it looks like Craig Monroe earned himself a start against a right-handed pitcher with last night's four RBI performance. (Oh, if you could've seen the text message Mike McClary left me...)

And maybe the Tigers will be able to get Billy Butler out a few times today. If he and Sean Casey spent any more time together at first base this weekend, people might begin to wonder if they have a gift registry.