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Game 24 Preview: Royals at Tigers

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Expect to see a lot of this today.
Expect to see a lot of this today.

Kansas City Royals (6-16) at Detroit Tigers (12-11)

Time/Place: 1 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation Blog: Royals Review

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

Pitching Matchup: Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (2-1, 2.41 ERA)

Sanchez only had one start since we saw him last, and it didn't go so well. He Scherzer'd his way through 4 2/3 innings, issuing seven walks against the Cleveland Indians. The silver lining for Royals fans is that he only gave up four runs and kept his team in the game, though they ultimately lost, 4-3. I don't think that I need to tell you that he had trouble locating his pitches, but I will since I watched the game and had to listen to that stupid drum in Cleveland.

Sanchez nearly wiggled his way through five innings, but a two-out, two-run double by Jack Hannahan chased Sanchez after 115 pitches. In his last start against the Tigers, Sanchez was better, but not great. He pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks. The Tigers left six runners on base in that span, including a bases loaded, no-outs squander in the fourth inning. Timely hitting would be much appreciated this time around, guys.

It really says something that Verlander's last start -- a 6 IP, 4 ER, 4 K effort in Yankee Stadium, of all places -- was his worst of the young season. He's been dominant, to say the least. Throughout his entire career, Verlander has put up stupid numbers against the Royals; he's 14-2 with a 2.37 ERA against them in 133 career innings. In other words, he owns them like the Harlem Globetrotters own the Washington Generals. Billy Butler, whose Tiger-killing tendencies I have already expressed my distaste for, is the only Royal who has put up decent numbers against Verlander in his career.

Bring on the lefty-lefty matchup

Despite Sanchez's stellar splits against left-handed hitters, Prince Fielder has had very little difficulty hitting Sanchez throughout his career. In 23 plate appearances, Fielder has a .353/.522/.471 slash line against Sanchez. This includes a 1-for-3 appearance on April 18 in which he had an RBI double. He also reached base on an error by Sanchez and stole second base.

Outlook

Nearly every career split imaginable is in Justin Verlander's favor today. It's May, it's a day game, and he's facing the Royals. Their only chance today is to pencil Butler into every lineup spot and hope for the best. As for the Tigers, just hope that they didn't spend all of their energy circling the bases last night.

Prediction

Verlander throws a complete game. Also, we hear some very good news from Toledo later this evening.

Gameday Reading:

Royals Lose 3-9, Tigers Get to Hochevar In 1st Inning - Royals Review, Jeff Zimmerman
"The Royals were in the game in the top of the first innings when the score was still 0-0. Then the the bottom of the 1st happened."

Tigers rip Hochevar in first inning and roll to 9-3 victory over Royals - Kansas City Star, Bob Dutton
"The first seven Tigers reached base in the first inning — six on hits and one on an error. There were two errors in the inning, but all five runs were earned."