The Detroit Tigers can only hope that Matt Manning, their promising 6-foot-6 right-hander, can continue to remain "clueless" on the mound
Manning will get the ball Monday as the Tigers open a four-game series against the Royals in Kansas City, Mo., and the start comes on the heels of Manning throwing 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in his last start -- on June 8 against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays
Manning heard boos when Detroit manager A.J. Hinch removed him from the game in the seventh inning. "I thought it was a bunch of Toronto fans," Manning said.
Manning later acknowledged he was "clueless" that he was working on a no-hitter -- a no-no that relievers Jason Foley and Alex Lange completed. The gem was the ninth in Detroit franchise history and the Tigers' first combined no-hitter
"Honestly, I swear I had no idea," Manning said after the 2-0 win. "After I had a scuffle in the first, I was just trying to eat up innings. I was trying to protect that lead."
On Monday, Manning (3-1, 3.72 ERA) -- the ninth overall pick of the 2016 draft -- will face off against Kansas City righty Jordan Lyles (1-11, 6.42).
The Tigers have been shut out 12 times this season, including Sunday, when they lost 2-0 in the only defeat of their just-concluded three-game series in Seattle against the Mariners
But Hinch likes the way his lineup stacks up against Lyles, especially since he moved left-handed-hitting outfielder Kerry Carpenter (.274, 11 HRs) into the cleanup spot behind fellow young hitting standouts Riley Greene (.299, six HRs) and Spencer Torkelson (.229, 12 HRs).
"Kerry Carpenter is a dangerous player," Hinch said of his slugging-percentage leader. "Any guy that can homer is a guy you want in the lineup."
The Royals will hope that Drew Waters and Bobby Witt Jr. can keep their own hot bats going
The host Royals salvaged a win in their three-game series against the American League-best Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday with an 8-4 win in which Waters and Witt each homered and tripled and drove in five runs between them
Witt is batting .373 over his last 12 games with four home runs and 13 RBIs as he carries a seven-game hitting streak into Monday.
The key for Waters may be to convince himself he's still facing the Rays. In seven career games against the Rays, Waters has video-game stats -- he's batting .385 with six runs batted in and three of his nine career home runs.
Against Detroit, however, Waters is less than superhuman. In 10 games against the Tigers, the 24-year-old switch hitter is just 2-for-24 (.083) with one double and eight strikeouts
"I can't describe why that is, honestly," Waters said. "These guys are all major league pitchers."
On Tuesday, Tarik Skubal (0-0, 0.00) goes for Detroit and Daniel Lynch (2-4, 4.18) for Kansas City in a duel of left-handers. Wednesday features another battle of southpaws with the Tigers' Eduardo Rodriguez (5-5, 2.70) against the Royals' Ryan Yarbrough (2-4, 5.29)
--Field Level Media