Kansas City Royals (70-83) at Detroit Tigers (81-72)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Royals Review
Pitching Matchup: LHP Bruce Chen (11-12, 5.22 ERA) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-13, 4.14 ERA)
Oh, Bruce Chen. The crafty lefty is a walking contradiction between stats -- he has a 5.49 career ERA against the Tigers -- and the eye test -- seriously, dude kills us. This season, Chen is 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA against Detroit, but this doesn't tell the whole story. Two of Chen's starts against the Tigers were excellent. He allowed two runs in a combined 15 innings on April 17th and August 29th. The silver lining? Chen allowed six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in his only start at Comerica Park this season, back on July 7th.
Sanchez followed up his string of five consecutive quality starts -- in which he allowed a combined seven earned runs -- with a 5 2/3 inning, 6 earned run effort against the Oakland Athletics in his last start. While he wasn't particularly effective, he has continued to not beat himself. Sanchez has walked two batters or fewer in each of his past nine starts and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 4:1 during that time.
It's cliché, but it's true. Every game is a must-win from here on out, especially if Vinnie Pestano is going to keep hanging 0-2 pitches over the heart of the plate for the next 9 days. Sanchez pitched extremely well in his only start against the Royals this year, but was foiled by none other than Cy Chen himself. Of course, no one is questioning the starting rotation at this point in the season. The offense needs to get it done tonight.
Chen allows a boatload of baserunners but the Tigers are unable to capitalize... until Miguel Cabrera regains the Triple Crown lead with a late home run.