DETROIT – When the Tigers traded ace lefty David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays last week, they brought three pitchers to Detroit who were expected to develop while the team reboots and bolster the starting rotation in the future.
But top prospect Daniel Norris wasted little time setting the bar for himself in the Old English D. The 22-year-old twirled 7 1/3 one-run innings against the Orioles to win his first career start for the Tigers, allowing just four hits and striking out five.
Now another piece of the trade is set to make his Tigers debut. Matt Boyd, who is tearing up the minors to the tune of a 9-2 record, 1.65 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 19 starts this season, will take the hill against the best team in the American League: The Kansas City Royals.
Boyd made his MLB debut earlier this season for the Blue Jays, allowing four runs on nine hits and three homers in 6 2/3 innings against the Rangers on June 27. Five days later, Boyd failed to record an out against the Red Sox, allowing six hits and seven runs. He was sent back to the minors, where he picked up right where he left off, dominating Triple-A hitters.
Now Boyd is back for his second stint in The Show. The Tigers desperately need the 24-year-old lefty to give them a small boost, as Alfredo Simon, Shane Greene and Buck Farmer have collapsed in the back end of the starting rotation.
First Pitch: 7:08 p.m. on FSD
The Royals will send out the same lineup against Boyd that scored five runs against Justin Verlander in the series opener:
Alcides Escobar, SS
Ben Zobrist, LF
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Salvador Perez, C
Alex Rios, RF
Omar Infante, 2B
Detroit, meanwhile, will see a familiar face in a new uniform, as the Royals send out newly-acquired starter Johnny Cueto to make his second start for the team.
Cueto allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Tigers on June 17 before his night ended early thanks to a rain delay. All three runs came from a Miguel Cabrera three-run shot in the 6th inning, just before the rain began to fall.
But there will be no Miguel Cabrera to help the Tigers against Cueto on Wednesday. Here's how Detroit will line up against the ace:
Anthony Gose, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Tyler Collins, LF
Jefry Marte, 1B
James McCann, C
The starting lineup is a lifetime 2-21 (.095) against Cueto with a double and three strikeouts.
If Boyd and the Tigers can find a way to top Cueto and the Royals, Thursday afternoon's game will be a rubber match, with Anibal Sanchez squaring off against Yordano Ventura.