With the Curse of Justin Verlander finally laid to rest, the Detroit Tigers will try to put another dent in the playoff chances of the visiting Kansas City Royals in Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match of their three-game series. The Tigers halted a five-game skid with a 13-2 romp on Tuesday, their first win since trading away Verlander.
Detroit never held a lead since shipping Verlander to Houston but belted six homers in the 13-2 win - its first victory on a seven-game homestand that concludes Wednesday. Rookies JaCoby Jones and John Hicks each went deep twice and combined for seven RBIs for the Tigers, who needed nine innings from their bullpen after starter Anibal Sanchez was injured five pitches into the game. The Royals are 3-2 on their six-game trek despite getting outscored 46-21 and are three games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card in the American League. Lorenzo Cain homered on Tuesday and is 7-for-10 with four walks over his last three games.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FS1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Jason Hammel (7-10, 4.80 ERA) vs. Tigers LH Matthew Boyd (5-8, 5.92)
Hammel earned the win at Minnesota on Friday despite giving up four runs for the third time in four starts, a stretch during which he has surrendered eight home runs. He had his best start since the All-Star break in a no-decision versus Detroit on July 19, permitting one run over 6 1/3 innings. The slumping Ian Kinsler is 5-for-12 against Hammel, who is 2-2 with a 6.70 ERA versus Detroit.
Boyd won three consecutive starts to close out July, giving up three runs in each, but he is winless in seven appearances (six starts) since. He turned in a solid effort last time out with five innings of one-run ball against Cleveland, but he was battered for 12 runs over 8 1/3 frames in losses to the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. Boyd won at Kansas City on July 18, allowing three runs in six innings.
1. Tigers SS Jose Iglesias is 12-for-21 during his six-game hitting streak.
2. Cain’s homer on Tuesday was Kansas City’s 168th of the season, tying the franchise mark set in 1987.
3. Tigers DH Nicholas Castellanos has hit safely in eight of his last nine contests.
PREDICTION: Royals 5, Tigers 3