It seems like just yesterday fireworks were lighting up the sky and the aroma of charcoal grills were filling the air. It’s almost impossible to think that October is less than two weeks away. It also seems impossible to think that the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals are neck and neck for the AL Central crown. Time sure has flown by this year, but for the first time during the 2014 baseball season, the end is in sight; and in just a few days, the number of games left to be played will be a singular number.
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And when the end is near for anything, every remaining moment becomes crucial. Crucial moments are what the Tigers are faced with at this point in time as they open a three game set with the Royals in Kansas City beginning Friday.
No more than a single game separates the two teams, meaning both the Tigers and the Royals have the opportunity to bury their opponent for good and get their hands near the AL Central throne. Forget everything else you’ve heard, this series is the most crucial of the entire season. This series in will be one that we look back and remember the results for years to come. One team will be made, and one team will be broken by the time Sunday evening rolls around. It’s hard to even stress the importance of this through typed up words.
“Let’s just hope that the Tigers are on the inside looking out when this series is over”
The Tigers are 11-5 against the Royals this year; and overall their numbers are quality. Royals batters are hitting just .255 against Tigers pitchers this season with 91 strikeouts. Rick Porcello, whom rarely strikes a batter out, has 16 K’s against Royals batters this year. Max Scherzer has struck out 18 Royals if that says anything.
The Tigers have also swung the hot stick when playing KC this season; a team .286 BA is nothing to look down on. And a few Tigers in particular have had much success against the Royals as JD Martinez has 5 HR’s and 15 RBI in 44 AB’s this season; Miguel Cabrera has clubbed 8 doubles and 12 RBI when playing KC.
Sep 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields (33) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
As for Kansas City, they have not been able to hold their ground when playing the Tigers; the KC pitching staff is tossing a collective 5.11 ERA in 16 games. Greg Holland has been able to rack up 2 saves in 2 chances against Detroit and James Shields has 22 SO’s against the Tigers in 4 games.
The Pitching matchups are some of the best we could ask for as all 6 starters have double-digit win totals. It will be an absolute Arms War in Missouri this weekend.
Courtesy of Chris Iott, MLive.com
Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
- Friday: RHP Justin Verlander (13-12, 4.81 ERA) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (11-9, 3.41 ERA)
- Saturday: RHP Max Scherzer (16-5, 3.26 ERA) vs. RHP James Shields (14-7, 3.15 ERA)
- Sunday: RHP Rick Porcello (15-11, 3.19 ERA) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (11-11, 4.35 ERA)
There is nothing about this series that the Tigers cannot accomplish. Sure, they’ve gotten roughed up these past few days, but the numbers say it all; anytime the Tigers play the Royals, KC is sent back to Missouri with a few more losses to their names. The Tigers have made trips to the past 3 postseason, so why not make it four? These type of moments are ones that we as fans live for, os savor the moment. But do not expect the Royals to go down without a fight as this is a team that hasn’t felt October glory since. You read that right, it’s literally been 29 years since their last postseason berth. Both these teas want it bad….question is who wants it more?
Prediction: I strongly believe that the Tigers will take 2/3 from the Royals; the lone loss will come on Friday night when Justin Verlander is pitching. Verlander is 2-2 with a 5.57 ERA against KC this year, and has 13 ER’s in his last 19 innings pitched. I expect Max Scherzer to bounce back and bring the performance we need, though James Shields will pose a bit of a threat. A sweep seems difficult to do when on the road against your rival; even more difficult when October is on the line. But if the Tigers were to take 2/3, they’d be in good shape.
Dust off your foam fingers and get try not to bite all of your nails off, it’s going to be an interesting weekend, Detroit.