Previewing the Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals

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The Detroit Tigers will open a 3 game series with the Kansas City Royals on Monday at 4:08 at Comerica Park. This is the first of 6 games remaining between the top two teams in the AL Central. The Royals currently hold a 2.0* game lead over the Tigers in the Central (*the Royals trail the Cleveland Indians 4-2 in the 10th in a game to be completed September 22). The Tigers trail the Oakland A’s by 2.5 games for the 1st Wild Card spot and the Seattle Mariners by 0.5 games for the 2nd spot.

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The Tigers remaining schedule rolls out like this:

  • 3 games at home vs. Kansas City
  • 3 games at home vs. Cleveland
  • 3 games at Minnesota
  • 3 games at Kansas City
  • 3 games at home vs. the Chicago White Sox
  • And 4 games at home vs. the Minnesota Twins

The Royals remaining schedule is this:

  • 3 games at Detroit
  • 4 games at home vs. the Boston Red Sox
  • 3 games at home vs. the Chicago White Sox
  • 3 games at home vs. Detroit
  • 3.5 games at Cleveland (including the remaining 10th inning game)
  • 4 games at the Chicago White Sox

If the Tigers want to catch the Royals, the easiest way is obviously to win at least 4 of the 6 games in the head to head matchups. A key to winning those matchups is getting to 5 runs. In their last 12 games, the Royals have scored more than 4 runs 4 times. Getting to 5 runs is going to be difficult to say the least.

If the Tigers are going to jump on the Royals, they better do it early. The back end of the Kansas City bullpen is made up of Jason Frasor (who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in mid-July), Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland (who is dealing with triceps tightness). Here are their stats for the season:

  • Frasor : 17 GP, 11.1 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 K for a 8.74 K/9, 1.15 WHIP, and 1.59 ERA
  • Herrera: 61 GP, 60.1 IP, 43 H, 9 ER, 23 BB, 52 K for a 7.76 K/9, 1.09 WHIP, and 1.34 ERA
  • Davis: 62 GP, 63.1 IP, 31 H, 5 ER, 21 BB, 94 K for a 13.36 K/9, 0.82 WHIP, and 0.71 ERA
  • Holland 59 GP, 56.1 IP, 37 H, 10 ER, 18 BB, 80 K for 42 saves, a 12.78 K/9, 0.98 WHIP and 1.60 ERA

Those numbers are astounding and their starting rotation does not lack far behind. The starting rotation is made up of Danny Duffy (who may be done for the season), Jason Vargas, James Shields, Yordano Ventura, and Jeremy Guthrie. The rotation’s ERAs are 2.42, 3.14, 3.23, 3.25 and 4.15 respectively. The Tigers will face Guthrie, Vargas, and Shields in the 3 game series this week. The Tigers will send out Verlander, Scherzer and Porcello to combat Guthrie, Vargas, and Shields.

The Tigers are 9-4 against the Royals this season, but have not faced the Royals in the 2nd half where the Royals are currently 28-12 which is a half game better than the Tigers in their best stretch to start the year. It has seemed like every time the Royals have been hot the last few years, the Tigers put out the fire. We will see if these two series repeat history or if the Royals can overcome their past Tigers demons.

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