Early in 2014, the Detroit Tigers have seen plenty of home competition from their Central Division counterparts, and this week, that run will continue again on the road with trips to Chicago and Kansas City.
Early in the season, the division has been a toss up, and Detroit's 6-4 record within has been just good enough to stay in first place through the early part of the season. The Tigers will have a chance to improve on that number with five more games coming this week. Then, a visit from the Houston Astros looms the early part of next week.
April 29-30 at Chicago White Sox
2014 Record Against Detroit: 2-2
Player To Watch: Dayan Viciedo. Though there were plenty of players who torched the Tigers the last time around, the team simply couldn't get Viciedo out at the plate, and he collected nine hits, collected one RBI and scored two runs against Detroit. Can he do it again?
Series Storyline: A home run ball redux? When the Tigers and White Sox played last time around, the teams combined for eight home runs in three games. The first game, nobody homered, but after that, it was a free for all. Will that continue at notoriously home run happy U.S. Cellular Field?
May 2-4 at Kansas City Royals
2014 Record Against Detroit: 0-2
Player To Watch: Salvador Perez. In the last series the teams played, Perez was much like Viciedo, collecting five hits in two games. Since then, Perez has gone the opposite way of Viciedo, and is now hitting only .239. Can he do as much damage as he did before against Detroit? The way some of the others are hitting in the Kansas City lineup, he might need to.
Series Storyline: Can the Royals get revenge? In the season opener, the Royals could have stolen two games from the Tigers, if not for a pair of late inning meltdowns by the bullpen. Since, Kansas City has stabilized things and has played well. If they're going to make a statement against Detroit, they are going to need to have a solid showing in this series.
May 5-8 vs. Houston Astros
2013 Record Against Detroit: 1-6
Player To Watch: George Springer. Roster-wise, there's not much hope for the Astros, but Springer's call-up helped provide a jolt of excitement to a team in need of such an event. It's been a slow start for the rookie (.170 batting average with no home runs and two RBI) but seeing someone with raw talent and potential is exciting.
Series Storyline: How improved is Houston? They started off the season with major wins against the New York Yankees, but it's been frustrating since, and the Astros are only 9-17 overall. Last season, Houston was a speed bump for the Tigers, who roughed them up. Will the games be tighter this time?
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