Justin Verlander (1-6, 6.43) vs. Luke Hochevar (2-2, 4.94)
Will last night's tough loss to the Royals linger with the Tigers in the second game of this series? It very well could if Detroit scores as few runs for Justin Verlander as they did for Nate Robertson. And for all the chatter about Verlander's struggles this season, poor run support has been a nagging issue. The Tigers have scored four runs total in his last three starts. How many starting pitchers could overcome that?
If Verlander only gets one or two runs tonight, he should trash a dugout heater like Mark Buehrle did last week in Chicago. Unless, of course, he wins. And he's pitched very well at Kauffman Stadium.
Luke Hochevar has had his own issues with run support, as the Royals have scored just one run in each of his losses this year. He wasn't great in his last start, however, giving up four runs in seven innings versus the Orioles. But in his two prior appearances, Hochevar gave up just three runs over 12 innings, looking like the type of pitcher who Kansas City selected first overall in the 2006 draft. According to our friend Sam Mellinger, Hochevar is also really good at Rock Band.
No Gary Sheffield in left field tonight, and Jason Beck reports that Jim Leyland won't be playing Sheff out there as much because of that bad shoulder. Geez, that move didn't last very long, did it? But Matt Joyce has been playing some good defense out there, and that's where he'll be this evening.