For Porcello, it will be all about salvaging some sort of momentum as the Tigers head into a crucial weekend set at Comerica Park against the American League Central-leading White Sox.
Porcello will first need to break a trend set in his past two starts. Although he's been quite good -- perhaps even pitching the best he has all season -- he's got two losses to show for it.
Facing the Orioles on Aug. 18, the right-hander allowed three runs but they came in the sixth inning and broke a 0-0 tie, ultimately resulting in a loss for Porcello. The second came Friday vs. the Angels, when one double -- again in the sixth inning of a scoreless game -- plated two runs.
"Both pitchers made mistakes. [Ours] came with guys on base," said catcher Alex Avila summing up the loss, and essentially both of Porcello's past two starts.
The Royals will counter with Jeremy Guthrie, who faces the Tigers for the second time this season. On June 17, he allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings. However, that was with the Rockies and since being traded to the American League, the 33-year-old's performed much better.
Guthrie put together a string of three consecutive scoreless starts, not allowing a run in 22 2/3 innings. That streak came to an end his last time out against the Red Sox, when he gave up six runs and failed to get out of the third.
"I wasn't sharp," Guthrie said after the game. "I really didn't execute too many pitches."
Tigers: Fister officially named starter
Manager Jim Leyland officially declared Doug Fister (groin strain) the starter for Friday night's series opener against the White Sox. Fister threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and said he felt fine after. As a result, he was named starter and left-hander Drew Smyly will pitch out of the bullpen.
The rosters for the Arizona Fall League were announced Wednesday and for the Tigers, that list included seven prospects. Nick Castellanos, Detroit's No. 1 prospect according to MLB.com, will be joined by James McCann, Aaron Westlake, Tyler Clark, Matt Hoffman, Michael Morrison and Luke Putkonen. They will play for the Mesa Solar Sox.
Royals: Slumping Francoeur gets day off
With Jeff Francoeur only 3-for-35 (.086) in his last 10 games and hitless in his last 18 at-bats, the outfielder was given a night off Wednesday. Francoeur is batting .232 on the season with 11 homers and 34 RBIs, but has just one RBI during his slump.
"I think there's some urgency to try to catch up all in one week which never works," manager Ned Yost said.
Jarrod Dyson took over in center field and Lorenzo Cain in right.
When the Major League rosters expand on Saturday, don't expect to see an influx of talent from Triple-A Omaha right away. With the Storm Chasers (81-57) in the Minor League playoffs, Yost said the squad will be allowed to defend its Pacific Coast League title.
Porcello is 5-2 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 career starts against the Royals and is 3-1 with a 4.42 ERA at Kauffman Stadium. Billy Butler has faced the sinkerballer most, going 10-for-35 (.286) with two doubles and five RBIs.
Guthrie is 3-3 with a 4.18 ERA. Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-15 vs. Guthrie with two home runs, four RBIs and four walks.