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Game 43: Tigers at Royals

Justin Verlander (4-2, 3.99) vs. Gil Meche (2-4, 4.42), 2:10 p.m. EST

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! After a 7-2 homestand that provided their first substantial lead in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers hit Kansas City to take on their second-place competitor. Being at home for so long may have made the team a bit complacent, at least on offense. The Tigers have scored only four runs in losing their last two games.

Gil Meche has been dealing with back pain throughout the season thus far, which likely contributed to a five-game stretch in which he gave up four runs or more. Meche broke that streak in his last start, however, holding Cleveland to two runs and six hits over six innings. And he's pitched well against the Tigers in his career, compiling an 8-4 record and 3.71 ERA in 18 starts. In four appearances at Kauffman Stadium this year, Meche is 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA.

Justin Verlander didn't post double-digit strikeouts for the fourth consecutive start, but he still pitched very well, holding a fearsome Texas Rangers lineup to one run and three hits in six innings. In his previous five starts totaling 35.1 innings, he's allowed only four runs. If there's one concern about Verlander's performance over his last two starts, however, it's that his high pitch counts are taking him out of the ballgame a bit earlier than the Tigers might like.

For his career against Kansas City, Verlander has a 7-1 record and 2.43 ERA in 11 starts. At Kauffman Stadium, he's 4-1 with a 1.36 ERA in six appearances. So who's going to blink in this pitching match-up?