Pretty much exactly what you’d have expected.
Royals 3, Tigers 2
Earlier this year I decried the performances of Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish in what was supposed to be a great duel, but Verlander and Shields lined up against each other today and gave the people what they wanted. The Tigers got single runs in the 1st and 5th and that would be it on the scoring as Verlander (8-4, 87 IP, 3.41 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 3.0 WAR) gave the Tigers 7 innings of shutout baseball that featured just 3 hits, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts and Shields offered 7 2-run innings himself. After some struggles in May, Verlander looks like he’s back on track and pitching like the $200 million man. Unfortunately, Jose Valverde is pitching exactly like himself as well, which means he isn’t pitching well. Leyland went to him after Smyly allowed a baserunner in the 9th and Valverde gave up a game tying homerun two batters later. At this point, you can’t be mad at Valverde because he simply isn’t good enough to pitch in close games. This falls squarely on Leyland and Dombrowski’s shoulders. I just feel bad for him now. I don’t support the use of a closer at all, but if you’re going to use one, they can’t be this bad. Coke came on in relief of Valverde and gave up a run in the 10th to end it. The Tigers have still won 6 of their last 9 and are eight games over the .500 mark at 36-28. They’ll take Thursday off in preparation for a three game set with the Twins this weekend. Rick Porcello (3-3, 63 IP, 4.86 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 1.0 WAR) and his rising star (and amazing 2.96 xFIP) will take the mound in game one and may have Austin Jackson behind him depending on how he feels after today’s rehab game.
The Moment: Lough makes a diving grab to rob Cabrera of an RBI double.