By Ashley Dunkak

DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander holds a 17-9 career record against the Kansas City Royals.

This season, though, that mark is 0-3.

Going back to Verlander’s disastrous 2012 All-Star Game start in Kansas City, Verlander is 1-4 against the Royals.

The 2011 MVP and Cy Young winner got shelled for five earned runs in one inning of the 2012 All-Star Game, and he has not gotten a win in Kauffman Stadium since.

That trend continued for Verlander and the Tigers Saturday.

Verlander lasted just five and two-thirds innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits and four walks – including one with the bases loaded.

The Tigers’ offense made it a close game, but Detroit fell 6-5.

Verlander’s struggles have not been limited to matchups against Kansas City, Through 21 starts this season, Verlander now has a 3.69 ERA and a 1.375 WHIP, the highest numbers since 2008, which is statistically the worst season of his career.

The Royals have certainly caused trouble for the Tigers on a regular basis, however, whether Verlander has pitched poorly or pitched fairly well – particularly since that All-Star Game.

The first time Verlander pitched in Kansas City after that poor showing, he allowed eight earned runs on 12 hits and three walks over five and two-thirds innings. The Tigers lost 9-8.

Verlander won in the next start against the Royals, a 6-2 win at Comerica Park in which he allowed two earned runs on nine hits – including a homer – in eight innings.

In 2013, though, Verlander has lost three straight to Kansas City. The Royals are the first team to get the better of Verlander three times in a season since the Minnesota Twins did in 2009.

He gave up just one earned run over seven innings April 25, but the Tigers lost 8-3. He shut out the Royals through seven innings June 12, but Detroit fell 3-2.

Verlander said this season has been tough for him, much like the 2008 season, but that he is better equipped to handle it now. At least so far, the Royals have dished out plenty to handle – to the Tigers and to Verlander in particular.


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