Billy Butler starts as Royals’ DH to begin Detroit series

Royals designated hitter Billy Butler
Royals designated hitter Billy Butler The Kansas City Star

Billy Butler has 92 plate appearances in his career against Tigers starter Justin Verlander. He has faced Verlander more often than any other pitcher in the majors. And Verlander has faced Butler more often than any other hitter in the majors.

So Butler’s track record of punishing Verlander is lengthy, even if his current level of production is still questionable. Even after going hitless against him last week at Comerica Park, Butler still carries a .415/.478/.549 line against him into Friday’s game.

So Butler starts at designated hitter for Kansas City. Nori Aoki will return to the outfield. Jarrod Dyson will be on the bench.

Here are the lineups as Jason Vargas (11-9, 3.41 ERA) faces Justin Verlander (13-12, 4.81 ERA):

TIGERS (84-68)

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B.

2. Torii Hunter, RF.

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B.

4. Victor Martinez, DH.

5. J.D. Martinez, LF.

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B.

7. James McCann, C

8. Eugenio Suarez, SS.

9. Rajai Davis, CF.

ROYALS (83-68)

1. Alcides Escobar, SS.

2. Nori Aoki, RF.

3. Lorenzo Cain, CF.

4. Alex Gordon, LF.

5. Salvador Perez, C.

6. Eric Hosmer, 1B.

7. Billy Butler, DH.

8. Omar Infante, 2B.

9. Mike Moustakas, 3B.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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