(SportsNetwork.com) – Alfredo Simon looks to put the finishing touches on a
spectacular April on Thursday when the Detroit Tigers open a four-game series
with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Acquired from Cincinnati this offseason, Simon has quickly endeared himself to
Detroit, winning all four of his starts, while pitching to a 1.65 ERA. Simon
gave up one earned run or less for the third straight outing on Saturday, as
he surrendered a run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings to Cleveland.
He’s the first Tigers pitcher to win his first four starts in a season since
Frank Tanana in 1988.
“He just … he just doesn’t look like he breaks a sweat out there,” Tigers
manager Brad Ausmus said. “I saw him get mad at himself on one pitch today,
and that’s the first emotion I’ve seen him show since he got to Spring
Simon is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in five games against the Royals, but this will
only be his second start against them.
Detroit won for the fourth time in five tries on Wednesday, as Miguel Cabrera
swatted two home runs and the Tigers totaled 17 hits in a 10-7 win over the
Cabrera finished 3-for-5 and drove in four runs. James McCann had a three-hit
game, including his first career home run on an inside-the-park play. Andrew
Romine was 4-for-4 with an RBI and a steal.
Tigers starter Shane Greene was crushed for the second straight game, despite
striking out eight batters. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3
innings. The bullpen picked him up with four relievers combining for 4 2/3
scoreless innings, with Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) earning the win and Joakim Soria
recording his ninth save in as many tries.
Kansas City, meanwhile, was denied a sweep in its series with Cleveland, as it
dropped a 7-5 decision on Wednesday.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura (2-2) avoided getting ejected for a third
straight start, but he struggled in the loss. He was charged with five runs on
six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings but only struck out one batter.
“I thought he threw the ball good. He made some mistakes over the middle of
the plate,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run home run and Kendrys Morales also drove in two for
the Royals, who lost shortstop Alcides Escobar when he was hit by a pitch in
the head and had to exit the game with a cheek contusion.
“There’s no fracture,” said Yost. “He’s got good jaw strength.”
Getting the call for the Royals on Thursday will be lefty Danny Duffy, who is
1-0 with a 4.15 ERA. Duffy delivered a solid start his last time out on Friday
in Chicago, but did not get a decision, despite giving up just one unearned
run over 5 1/3 innings of his team’s 3-2 loss.
Duffy, though, is just 1-6 lifetime versus the Tigers with a 3.42 ERA in nine
Detroit was 13-6 versus the Royals last season.