Iglesias, Avila out again Saturday as Tigers battle Royals

Jose Iglesias misses 2nd straight game, Alex Avila to DL


DETROIT – Friday night's series opener against the Kansas City Royals was a resounding success for the Detroit Tigers, who came back from a one-run deficit to beat the best bullpen in baseball in walkoff fashion. With the win, Detroit regained the top spot in the AL Central Division.

But off the field, the injuries are starting to pile up.

Jose Iglesias will sit out his third straight game Saturday as he continues to battle tightness in his groin. His absence leaves a deep void in the Tigers' lineup, which misses his .349 average and dynamite defense at shortstop.

Joining Iglesias on the sideline is catcher Alex Avila, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with loose body in his left knee. Avila was off to a nice start this season, posting a .342 on-base percentage with two homers and eight RBI. He threw out four of 12 base stealers from behind the dish.

The bottom third of the Tigers' lineup has a very different look without those two bats. James McCann will slot into the No. 8 hole and Andrew Romine will round out the lineup at No. 9.

The full lineup Saturday looks like this:

Anthony Gose, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
J.D. Martinez, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
James McCann, C
Andrew Romine, SS

This group will face a familiar face, as 36-year-old Jeremy Guthrie makes his second straight start against Detroit.

First Pitch: 1:08 p.m. on FS1

Guthrie lost Game 4 of last week's meeting between the Tigers and Royals, allowing 11 hits and six runs in six innings. As always, Miguel Cabrera owned Guthrie, picking up three hits (including a home run) to raise his lifetime average to .358 against the righty.

Ian Kinsler, Cabrera and Victor Martinez are a combined 47 for 135 (.348) against Guthrie with five home runs, six doubles and 19 RBI.

From the leadoff spot, Anthony Gose comes into the game a lifetime 1 for 11 against Guthrie.

Guthrie's struggles this season can be largely traced back to his strikeout and walk rates. He's posting a career worst 3.41 K/9 through five starts, magnified by a career-high 3.10 BB/9.

For a pitcher, that's a recipe for disaster.

The result is an FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 5.82. Teams are making consistent, hard contact off of Guthrie and he's on the brink of disaster if the trend continues.

Guthrie will once again be opposed by Anibal Sanchez, who beat him with seven solid innings on Sunday. Sanchez allowed just two earned runs through seven innings before he was knocked out by a Christian Colon single in the bottom of the 8th. He finished with three earned runs on four hits over 7.1 innings.

Sanchez will see this starting nine from KC:

Alcides Escobar, SS
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Alex Gordon, LF
Omar Infante, 2B
Christian Colon, 3B
Jarrod Dyson, RF
Drew Butera, C

Since allowing nine earned runs in an April 18 loss, Sanchez has posted three straight quality starts and surrendered seven runs in 20.2 innings.

With a win, the Tigers would match their largest division lead of the season at 1.5 games ahead of the Royals. A loss would hand KC a 1/2 game lead in the 8th swap of first place already this season.

Shane Greene will take the mound for the Tigers in the finale, which will be featured on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball at 8 p.m.