The Detroit Tigers' expensive, revamped lineup was considered one of the best in baseball coming into the season.
So far, it's been no problem for the Kansas City Royals.
The Tigers will look to avoid being swept at home by the Royals to start the season on Thursday, when the teams complete their three-game set at Comerica Park.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Detroit -169 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 85% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -169 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Kansas City's Zack Greinke will make his first start of the season, hoping to duplicate the effort of another young Royals pitcher.
Brian Bannister allowed just two singles in seven innings of Kansas City's 4-0 win on Wednesday, as Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez and newly acquired Miguel Cabrera were a combined 0-for-9. The Royals (2-0) had already beaten Detroit 5-4 in 11 innings on opening day Monday.
"This isn't the time to get cocky," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Banny pitched very well today, and this is a nice start, but that's still a very good team and we've got to face them again tomorrow."
They'll do it behind the 24-year-old Greinke (7-7, 3.69 ERA), who hasn't spent a full season in the rotation since 2005, battling social anxiety disorder in 2006 and struggling last season.
He began 2007 as a starter but was sent to the bullpen after going 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA in his first seven starts. He regained his spot late in the season, going 2-2 with a 1.85 ERA in seven starts to close the year.
Greinke's two starts against the Tigers in 2007 were representative of his season. He couldn't get out of the first inning when he faced them in April, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks in just two-thirds of an inning, but he threw four shutout innings against them on Aug. 29.
"You're not going to stop them completely. You just hope to keep them close," Greinke told the Royals' official Web site. "Luckily they're not in a park like Texas or something. Then it'd be really scary. Luckily this is kind of a pitchers' park."
The Tigers (0-2) will counter with Jeremy Bonderman (11-9, 5.01), who had a promising start to last season before crumbling at the finish. He was 10-1 with a 3.50 ERA in July, but lost eight of his last nine decisions before getting shut down for the season in September with an elbow problem.
The lone win, however, came against Kansas City, as he went 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Royals last season.
While Bannister was blanking the Tigers - who also added Edgar Renteria and Jacque Jones in the offseason - Royals DH Billy Butler went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Jose Guillen also added an RBI double, and is 4-for-11 with two home runs and five RBIs in his career against Bonderman.
Detroit, meanwhile, has just four runs on 13 hits with 19 strikeouts in 20 innings.
"Let's just hope that was the last shutout," Sheffield said. "We'll turn around."
In addition to their starting pitching, the Royals' bullpen has also had an impressive start to the season. Kansas City relievers have allowed just one run in seven innings, with Leo Nunez and Joakim Soria combining for five shutout innings.
The Royals last swept the Tigers with three wins in Detroit to finish the 2006 season.
by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us
More MLB Baseball coverage from theSpread.com
- MLB news wire
- Current MLB Injuries
- 2007 MLB standings
- 2007 MLB schedule
- 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
- 2007 MLB stats
- MLB scoreboard
- Expert MLB picks
- Accuscore predictions
- Comments and discussion
- Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
- MLB home