STREAK: Lost two
PAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
NEXT: Royals (Wade Davis, 6-9, 5.29) at Tigers (Doug Fister, 10-6, 3.60)
–RHP Justin Verlander turned in another strong outing Friday in the first game of Detroit’s doubleheader with Kansas City but also turned in another loss. He gave up a solo home run to Eric Hosmer in the fourth and consecutive doubles at the beginning of the seventh in a 2-1 loss. “My stuff’s been better, specifically my breaking ball,” said Verlander, who has had some inconsistencies with his landing foot in his delivery.
–RHP Doug Fister, two starts removed from a four-game winning streak, makes his third start of the season Saturday against Kansas City. Fister is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA against the Royals this season. Over his career, which covers nine starts out of 10 appearances, he is 3-4 with a 2.65 ERA. It was against the Royals that Fister struck out nine Kansas City batters in a row in a Sept. 27, 2012, start against the Royals.
–LHP Jose Alvarez will have to return to the minors after making a solid start Friday night in the second game of a doubleheader. Alvarez allowed two runs, on a home run by 1B Eric Hosmer of Kansas City, in 5 2/3 innings. He has to return in accordance with the rules that now allow a team to bring up a pitcher to make a start in a doubleheader without having to option out another player. “Our kid almost matched (RHP James Shields),” manager Jim Leyland said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.” Alvarez (1-3) has made five starts, all as a substitute, for Detroit this season.
–2B Ramon Santiago started the second game of Friday’s doubleheader in place of 2B Omar Infante and fared about as well as any of his teammates in Detroit’s 3-0 loss to Kansas City. However in the first game, which the Tigers also lost, 2-1, Santiago pinch-hit a home run. He is not a power hitter and this was the first pinch-hit home run of his career. Santiago has looked better at the plate in the last few weeks, principally because his playing time went up with Infante out for more than a month with a left ankle sprain.
–RHP Joaquin Benoit didn’t pitch in either game of Friday’s doubleheader after earning a save in each of the previous two. Manager Jim Leyland said before the doubleheader he wanted to stay away from using Benoit. He hasn’t used his closer in three straight days yet this season.
–RHP Bruce Rondon is making strides on his way to perhaps becoming Detroit’s eventual closer. “There’s going to be some bumps along the way,” manager Jim Leyland said, “but he’s done a good job so far.” Leyland has asked the hard-throwing rookie to pitch anywhere from the sixth through extra innings and he’s pitched much better than in his first exposure to Major League hitters this spring. “He’s used to being a closer and we’ve asked him to pitch in a variety of roles.”
QUOTE TO NOTE: “This is simple. We just didn’t muster up enough offensively in either game. Both sides pitched terrific, and we just didn’t muster up enough offense.” — Manager Jim Leyland after losing both games of a doubleheader to Kansas City on Friday.