The Kansas City Royals will try to pick up their second straight victory over the division-leading Detroit Tigers on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.
Jeremy Guthrie will start the game for Kansas City. Guthrie has THE WILL TO WIN, as he leads the Royals with eight victories. The veteran's 4.25 ERA is around league-average, but his 5.06 xFIP and 5.19 SIERA suggest he will allow more runs the second half of the season.
I feel like I always bring up the same talking points when discussing Guthrie, but very little has changed. He has survived despite an 11.2 K% and a 1.35 K/BB ratio. Guthrie has a lower BABIP than his career average and a higher LOB%. I really don't know how much longer he can cut it as a guy who forces weak contact despite terrible peripherals, but I hope the smoke-and-mirrors act continues. He's signed for another two seasons, so he's not going anywhere.
Guthrie's last start against the Tigers was a classic Guthrie start: 6 1/3 innings, six hits, one homer, three walks, zero strikeouts, two runs. I watched that game, and I still don't understand how it happened.
Justin Verlander will take the mound for Detroit. Verlander's first-half of 2013 was not as good as his past two seasons, but he's still a great starting pitcher. Verlander has seen his strikeouts slip, his walks increase, and has a BABIP .49 points higher compared to 2012, but currently owns a 3.50 ERA and 3.22 FIP.
The Royals have not had much success against Verlander this season, as they have only scored two runs over 14 innings against the former AL Cy Young award winner. That's not terribly surprising, as you would not expect a below-average offense to find much success against a great pitcher.
Tonight's game starts at 6:10 p.m. ET, and will be televised on FSKC. I don't think it will be blacked out for the MLB.TV people, even though it's on a Saturday during FOX hours.