It's been 23 years since the Detroit Tigers last won a division title. Their play this season against AL Central foes could contribute greatly toward ending that drought.
Detroit will try to continue its success within the division Friday night when it plays the second of a four-game series with the last-place Kansas City Royals .
The Tigers are coming off a 3-1 win over the Royals on Thursday. Ryan Raburn hit a two-run homer and Don Kelly added a solo shot for Detroit, which managed just six hits while helping Max Scherzer earn his 10th win.
Detroit (47-42), which trails first-place Cleveland by 1 1/2 games, improved to 16-7 against AL Central opponents. None of the other four teams in the division have fewer than 10 losses.
The Tigers haven't won a division title since taking the AL East in 1987. They lost in the championship series to Minnesota, which went on to win its first World Series.
Coming off his first win in nearly a month, Rick Porcello (7-6, 4.96 ERA) hopes to keep his wildness in check as he gets the start for the Tigers.
The right-hander had trouble finding the plate Sunday in a 6-3 victory over San Francisco, his first win since June 7. Porcello became the fifth pitcher in 92 years to hit three batters and throw three wild pitches in the same game.
"A little bit wild, but his stuff was much better," manager Jim Leyland said of Porcello, who had been reached for seven runs and a season-high 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings of a loss to the New York Mets on June 28.
Porcello is 0-1 in his last two starts against the Royals, allowing 10 runs and 21 hits in 10 1-3 innings. However, both those appearances were in Detroit. He's 2-1 with a 5.04 ERA in four games at Kauffman Stadium.
Kyle Davies could be pitching to keep his spot in the rotation for Kansas City (36-52), which has lost 11 of 15 at home.
In his first start after missing nearly seven weeks with right rotator cuff inflammation, Davies (1-7, 7.77) lasted just three innings in Saturday's 9-6 loss to Colorado. The right-hander was tagged for seven runs and eight hits, dropping him to 0-6 with a 7.20 ERA in seven games since notching his only win April 13.
"He wasn't extremely sharp," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Davies' first loss of the season came April 13 at Detroit, where he was charged with five runs and five walks in 3 2-3 innings. Overall, he's 3-9 with a 5.85 ERA in 13 games versus the Tigers.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera went 0 for 3 Thursday, but is 10 for 37 with three homers and five RBIs against Davies.
Royals rookie third baseman Mike Moustakas went 0 for 4 Thursday, and is 0 for 15 in his last four games. That's dropped his average 52 points to .238."I've been putting some good at-bats together lately. I'm just not getting the results I want right now," he said.
The Tigers are not expected to have leadoff hitter and center fielder Austin Jackson back until after the All-Star break due to a sore left wrist. Jackson, who's hitting .245 but leads the team with 15 stolen bases, was pulled after striking out in his first at-bat and said the wrist has been bothering him for a while.