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Game 157: Royals (72-86) at Tigers (71-85)

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Brian Bannister (8-16, 5.96) vs. Nate Robertson (7-10, 6.15)

Two teams enter fourth place tonight at Comerica Park, one team will leave in last place. The city of Detroit is still reveling in the Lions' long overdue firing of Matt Millen this morning. It would be nice if the Tigers didn't harsh that mellow with yet another loss that would make them the sole occupant of the AL Central basement.

Brian Bannister has fallen on some hard times for the Royals. In his previous start, the White Sox knocked him around for seven runs and eight hits in five innings. Bannister pitched eight innings in his last visit to Comerica Park, but the Tigers scored four runs off him, which was enough to win the game.

The last time Nate Robertson started a game, he held the Oakland Athletics to one run and four hits (with six strikeouts) in seven innings. It was one of his better outings of the season. Unfortunately, Robertson's last appearance - this time as a reliever - didn't go so well. Actually, it was awful. In giving up three runs and four hits in just 2 2/3 innings, Robertson seemed determined to blow a 10-run lead for the Tigers.

So here we go again, as Robertson gets one last shot (for this season, anyway) as a starter. Jim Leyland said Nate needs to "step it up" if he wants his old job back next year. No whining, no pouting - get out there and pitch. Tonight would be an excellent time for Nate to show his manager something.