Fulmer rides historic streak into matchup vs. Royals
The Tigers have lost J.D. Martinez for 4-6 weeks with a fractured right elbow. They may or may not have Cameron Maybin in their outfield as he deals with right quad tightness and a balky left wrist. But they still have Michael Fulmer, who doesn't have a run on his pitching line since May 21. And as the rookie right-hander readies for his first meeting with the defending World Series-champion Royals on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium, he gives the shorthanded Tigers a chance to take a 2-0 lead in this four-game series.
Fulmer enters Friday's start with a scoreless streak of 28 1/3 innings, one out shy of John Hiller's Tigers rookie record from 1967, and longest by a Major League rookie starter since Orel Hershiser in 1984. Fulmer is the first rookie pitcher with scoreless performances in four straight starts since Grover Alexander in 1911. He's one of two pitchers since 1893 to throw four consecutive starts of six or more shutout innings with three hits or less, joining Cubs ace Jake Arrieta.
He'll get a test with the Royals, who have been dominant at home despite losing Thursday's series opener in a home run slugfest. Kansas City's nine-game home winning streak was snapped on Thursday, but the Royals have still won 12 of their last 14 at Kauffman Stadium and own a 22-8 home record that leads the American League.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura has been better at home than on the road, holding opponents to a .233 average and three home runs in 29 2/3 innings to go with a 4.55 ERA in five starts.
Things to know about this game
• The Tigers will call up Steven Moya, who batted .281 (9-for-32) in his brief Major League stint last month, to replace Martinez on the 25-man roster.
• Royals catcher Salvador Perez is batting 7-for-15 this week with a double, two home runs and five RBIs. He's hitting 26-for-64 (.406) with 10 extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in his last 17 games.
• Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias has a 14-game hitting streak, and has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games.