The Royals are up against Tigers ace Justin Verlander at Comerica Park, but Kansas City is enjoying its spoiler chances, and the tough competition. Another righty, Luke Hochevar, is scheduled to pitch for the Royals.
After the Tigers were swept by Minnesota in a doubleheader on Sunday, they trail the White Sox by one game in the American League Central race heading into Monday's contest.
"If you were a team that was contending, would you want a rookie pitcher that was making his first Major League start pitching against you? Yeah," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But to the team they're contending with, it's not fair. So when we play Chicago, when we play Detroit, we'll put our best team and our best pitchers on the field every game against them. We won't put any rookies in there unless it's just absolutely out of necessity. That's just the way I've always done it and that's the way it should be.
"In my mind, when you're playing a contending team, you have a responsibility to play your best team out of fairness to both clubs. In this case, it's Detroit and Chicago. We'll put our best lineup on the field and do everything we can do to play our best baseball."
This is the final road trip of the season for the Royals. Hochevar recorded a quality start and did not issue a walk, but also took his 14th loss on Tuesday in a 3-2 White Sox win. Hochevar set a career high for strikeouts in that start, with 132, surpassing last year's mark of 128.
But the Tigers have done well against Hochevar. He has a 6.17 ERA against them in 12 career outings and 11 starts, and the last three times he's faced them, he's given up a combined 20 runs.
Verlander's won three of his last four starts overall, although the Royals have done well against him this year. The defending Most Valuable Player and Cy Young winner in the AL has given up 12 runs to Kansas City in 22 2/3 innings and three outings.
"We just have to keep playing, but the key is it doesn't matter who's doing what or who isn't doing what," manager Jim Leyland said this weekend. "The key is you have to win games. We're at the stretch where we've got to win games no matter what's going on with them. We have to win baseball games."
Miguel Cabrera's assault on the Triple Crown -- and the MVP -- continues against a team he's hitting .311 against this season, but notably, without a home run. He has a home run against all other American League teams he's faced this season.
Royals: Perez to return Monday
Salvador Perez is slated to be back catching after sitting out the weekend to give his hands a break. Foul balls took their toll.
"He was politicking [Saturday] to play [Sunday], but no," Yost said.
Perez is hitting .300 with 11 home runs, 16 doubles and 36 RBIs in 67 games.
Tigers: Cabrera reaches 40 doubles, makes history
Cabrera notched his 40th double of the season on Sunday in the nightcap against Minnesota.
He joined Hank Greenberg as the only two players in Tigers history to collect 40 or more doubles and 40 or more home runs during the same season. Greenberg did it in 1937 and 1940.
• All paid tickets from the game on April 30 will be honored on Monday; no ticket exchange is necessary.