Detroit looks to continue riding a four-game winning streak behind 24-year-old Drew Smyly, who is still searching for his first win as a starter this season.
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Due to the number of off days in the early schedule, Smyly didn’t make his first start until April 18, when the Los Angeles Angels knocked him out of the game in three innings. He bounced back in his last start by holding the Chicago White Sox to two runs in six innings and striking out seven.
Danny Duffy will toe the rubber for the Royals in what will be his first start of the 2014 season. The 25-year-old started all 31 appearances for the Royals from 2011-2013 before coming out of the bullpen for the first month of this season.
Saturday’s starting pitchers couldn’t have more different styles, as Smyly relies on location and movement while Duffy throws a hard fastball that can reach into the high-90s. Duffy stifled hitters to the tune of a 1.85 ERA during his five starts last season, including two against Detroit in which he yielded two runs in 10 1/3 innings.
Kansas City hopes that Duffy can slow down an offense that cruised past ace James Shields on Friday night, tagging him for 12 hits and seven earned runs. Alex Avila hit a home run and the Tigers tallied five doubles en route to an 8-2 victory.
Friday’s win gave the Tigers a three-game lead in the American League Central Division, with the Royals remaining in second place. The recent hot streak has placed Detroit on top of the entire American League with a .625 winning percentage and just nine losses.
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If the Tigers can stretch their division lead to four games on Saturday behind Smyly, then ace Justin Verlander will take the mound on Sunday afternoon looking for the sweep.