Detroit Tigers: Second half begins in Kansas City for battle with Royals
The Detroit Tigers are back in action after the All-Star break, taking the diamond this weekend against the Kansas City Royals in a battle of the AL Central bottom dwellers.
Post All-Star break is when things start to heat up in the MLB, in weather and in terms of the impact of games. For the Detroit Tigers, however, the only things heating up are the trade rumors. This is the time of year where contenders are looking for trades that can fill the final holes that they feel could improve the roster enough to make a deep postseason run. Non-contenders like the Tigers have two goals, develop the talent they currently have and sell, sell, sell.
The Detroit Tigers have a few names that have been floated around in trade rumors most notably being Matthew Boyd and Shane Greene. The hope for these potential trade pieces is that their next few performances before the trade deadline are all positive so that the return for them can be as strong as possible.
The Tigers are 6-3 when facing the Royals on the year and they look to improve that record starting tomorrow against Royals pitcher Danny Duffy. Duffy is 3-5 with a 4.28 ERA. In his career against Detroit, Duffy has an 8-10 with a 4.39 ERA and a WHIP of 1.289. In short, the Tigers have seen success against Duffy in the past and this may be the perfect match up for the team to start off the second half of the season strong offensively. Spencer Turnbull will make his return to the hill in the series opener for Detroit.
Game two will feature the Tigers’ ace so far this season Matthew Boyd. Boyd’s last start before the All-Star break saw him strike out 13 batters. Boyd has not performed all the well in his two starts against KC this season.
Boyd is 1-1 while giving up nearly 5 runs per outing (4.91 ERA) and has surrendered a WHIP of 1.273. He is even worse against KC over the course of his career, Boyd has a record of 4-8 with an ERA of 6.39 and a WHIP of 1.526. Boyd struggles against this team and the hope is he can turn that around with a strong outing on Saturday.
His opposition on the mound is Brad Keller. Keller is 0-1 in his two starts versus the Tigers this season and he sports an ERA of 3.97 and allows nearly two base runners per inning with a WHIP of 1.676.
A handful of Tigers have experienced a good amount of success this year against Keller. The standouts are Miguel Cabrera and Christin Stewart as they come into the weekend with .600 batting averages against the Royals righty. Keller is by no means a lights out pitcher, and if the track record shows us anything, the offense should score a few runs.
Game three of the series pits Jordan Zimmermann of the Tigers against Homer Bailey of the Royals on the mound. Zimmermann has been horrific to this point this season. Entering Sunday with an 0-6 record accompanied by an ERA of 6.29. To put that in context, the worst ERA for a qualified pitcher in the entire league is 6.34. He hopes to begin a turnaround against a team he has had a great history facing. In the past, Zimmermann is 4-1 against the Royals and a very good 2.14 ERA. This is exactly the kind of matchup that could lead to a confidence-boosting start for Jordan.
The second half starts with a very favorable series that can hopefully wake up the bats for a team that has not seen a lot of offense to this point. The Tigers can pick up a couple of wins and get out of the last place spot in the AL Central if the series goes their way.