There are pitching duels, and then there are games where you feel like absolutely no scoring will ever happen. And those games end up feeling kind of flat. It did feature a good start by Phil Coke. He was shaky early, but that ability to make adjustments that I observed in spring training turned out to be true in the regular season as well. It was too late to salvage this start, but it was a good step forward nonetheless. Robbie Weinhardt looked good as well, even if he did give up a run.
Meanwhile, the offense was completely shut down by Bruce Chen. I can't give much insight myself because I was visiting relatives and I couldn't pay a lot of attention to the middle part of the game, so I have to go with the analysis from the guys on TV and radio. Dan Dickerson and Jim Price in particular mentioned that on previous occasions when Chen shut the Tigers down, they got the feeling that the Tigers were getting themselves out. This time they felt that Chen was genuinely pitching that well and that the Tigers had no chance. The best opportunity they had was in the sixth inning, when Will Rhymes singled and Magglio doubled with two out, but Rhymes was thrown out at the plate, stranding Miguel Cabrera and his 8-for-16 against Chen in the on-deck circle. I certainly thought Rhymes would be able to make it. It would've taken a perfect relay to get him, and that's what the Royals did. There was some argument over whether he actually got tagged or not. Leyland thought that Brayan Peña didn't have control of the ball. It looked to me like Rhymes actually tagged himself out because as he put up his hands to brace himself, he touched Peña's glove (which I don't blame him for, because you can't really control that). They also loaded the bases with two out in the eighth, but Magglio couldn't come through a second time.
The series wraps up today and it pits Rick Porcello against Luke Hochevar. Porcello had a problem with keeping his sinker down in his last start. Hopefully he can get it down this time, but if he can't, hopefully the bigger outfield of Comerica Park can help him out. Hochevar was the Opening Day starter for the Royals with Zack Greinke gone. He hasn't given up a lot to the Tigers in his career but on the few occasions that he has, it's been at Comerica Park.