Justin Verlander has tormented the Royals throughout his career, but he's looking for his first win against them this year. Kansas City will have to top the ace right-hander once again to keep pace in its playoff push after Friday's 16-2 loss.
This season, Verlander is 0-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings against the Royals. In his career, he's 15-4 with a 2.71 ERA, including a 9-3 record with a 2.62 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.
Despite not pitching with his usual dominance this season, he was strong last Sunday against the Indians, allowing four hits in seven scoreless innings.
"It was on one pitch, and it was like, 'Ah, that felt good. Let me keep doing that, or try to do that, be consistent with it," Verlander said. "It had a really good effect."
In Verlander's last start against Kansas City on Aug. 16, he gave up just two runs in eight innings. Royals lefty Danny Duffy, however, was even better, allowing just one hit over six scoreless innings. Duffy hopes to be equally as good in Saturday's rematch.
The lone hit was a single by Miguel Cabrera. Royals manager Ned Yost wants his pitchers to be aggressive with the reigning American League Most Valuable Player.
"If he's making 6 1/2 outs of every 10 and still hitting .350, the best hitter in baseball, you kind of play the odds every once in a while," Yost said. "You pick your spots, you pick your matchups. With Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez behind him you're just asking for trouble. It's tough."
Tigers: Castellanos excited for first MLB start
Top prospect Nick Castellanos will make his first Major League start in left field on Saturday.
"[Matt] Tuiasosopo is struggling a little bit, so I'm going to throw [Castellanos] out there," manager Jim Leyland said. "This guy has been playing a lot and getting a lot of at-bats. I'm going to run him out there and see what he does. We've got to get something from the right-handed side in that [left-field] spot. We'll see what the kid looks like."
It will be Castellanos' second time playing at Kauffman Stadium. In 2012, he homered and was the MVP of the Futures Game. Castellanos made his Major League debut as a pinch-hitter on Sunday, going 0-for-2 at the plate.
• Leyland said shortstop Jose Iglesias has improved after leaving Wednesday's game with shin splint soreness. Iglesias was held out of Friday's lineup but could be back for Saturday's game.
Royals: Perez is feeling better
Salvador Perez was back behind the plate on Friday after leaving Thursday's game early due to a foul ball off the chin of his face mask.
Perez missed a week in August because of a concussion, and the Royals want him to scoot up closer to home plate than where he has crouched in the past.
"If he came in [Friday] with any symptoms then, boom, no he wasn't going to play," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But he was totally symptom-free. It's totally black-and-white for me."
• Yost said Lorenzo Cain will likely be used only as a defensive replacement in the near future because he missed nearly four weeks with an oblique pull and it will take time for him to get his timing back. He went 0-for-2 on Friday.
• Billy Butler is batting .435 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in his career against Verlander, including going 6-for-9 with four walks against him this year.
• Omar Infante has three games with five or more RBIs in his career. Two of those three have been in the past week.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.