The Detroit Tigers kick-off the 2020 homestand against the Kansas City Royals. Let’s get to know who the 2020 Royals are.
The Detroit Tigers have a familiarity with the Kansas City Royals when it comes to Opening Day. Since 2005, Detroit has faced the Royals five times with the Tigers opening up with KC three times at home, in 2005, 2008, and 2014.
The Royals have had a rough start to the 2020 season and I am not referring to their 1-2 record. They have had eight players test positive for the COVID19 virus since the summer camp started. Those players are pitchers Daniel Tillo, Brad Keller, and Jakob Junis; catchers Cam Gallagher, Nick Dini, and Salvador Perez and infielders Brian Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn.
Just like Detroit, Kansas City ran into good pitching over the weekend as Cleveland’s Shane Bieber struck out 14 over six scoreless innings on Friday, followed by a Carlos Carrasco start on Sunday, his first start since his diagnosis from leukemia, fanning 10 Royal batters. Overall, they punched out 39 times over the weekend but that could be expected as players get back into game shape.
However, not all is negative. Brady Singer, their first-round pick in 2018 out of the University of Florida, (18th overall) had a strong major league debut on Saturday as he pitched five innings, allowed two runs on 3 hits, and struck out seven. Tigers fans will see him pitch on Thursday against Ivan Nova.
Let’s take a look at their potential starting lineup, their starting rotation, and bullpen.
SS- Adalberto Mondesi
Salvador Perez, who had one of two home runs off Mike Clevinger on Saturday, career-wise off Detroit pitching, has 20 home runs, 13 of which came at Comerica Park. Whit Merrifield loves Comerica Park, batting .340/.365./624 with 7 home runs, (48-for-131 in 33 games), and an OPS of .989.
Starting Rotation vs Detroit
Monday-Mike Montgomery (making his first start of the season)
Tuesday-TBA (bullpen start likely)
Lefty Mike Montgomery had a strong start in his last appearance at Comerica Park. He struck out 12 on August 10. He rejoined the Royals last year after being traded from the Cubs, where he was pitching out of the bullpen.
Lefties batted .452/.484/.702 against Montgomery so perhaps we will see another combination of Harold Castro and Christin Stewart starting again this evening. History wise, here is how he has done against a few Tigers:
Miguel Cabrera: 2-for-6 .333/.429/.333
Victor Reyes: 3-for-6 .500/.500/.667
Here are a few notable numbers against Wednesday’s starter Danny Duffy:
Cabrera: 11-for-44 .250/.375/.318
JaCoby Jones: 2-for-15 .133/.188/.133
CJ Cron: 5-for-14 .357/.400/.857 OPS of 1.257 with 2 home runs
Jonathan Schoop: 7-for-20 .350/.381/.350
Greg Holland is another former Royal who is back with the ballclub, taking over as the team’s closer. The road back from Tommy John surgery has been a long one but he picked up the save on Saturday and along with Ian Kennedy and former Tiger for a hot second, Trevor Rosenthal, make up a trio of veterans with some big-time experience. Worth noting that Rosenthal pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday with a pair of strikeouts.
The rest of the bullpen mix is a good portion of homegrown talent with Josh Staumont, (2nd round 2015), Kevin McCarthy (16th round 2013 draft), Tyler Zuber (6th round, 2017) Kyle Zimmer (1st round, the fifth pick overall in 2012), Richard Lovelady (10th round, 2016 draft) and Foster Griffin (1st round 28th pick overall 2014). I point this out because it is rather impressive to see the Royals use their farm system effectively to build their bullpen, just like they did when they won the World Series in 2015.
Detroit looks to build off the series win against the Reds and get the strikeouts under control. A milestone took place over the weekend from Miguel Cabrera. On Saturday, he suppressed Cal Ripkin Jr into 25th place all-time in RBIs with 1,696 with his home run. He now sits at 478.