Though the Tigers trail the first-place Indians by eight games in the AL Central, they're only three games away from a wild card spot. Detroit has underachieved for the most part this year, and that’s the main reason why this perennial contender is struggling to make the postseason. But many of the Tiger’s losses can be attributed to injuries to key players like Jordan Zimmerman, Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez, and Cameron Maybin. Third baseman Nick Castellanos is currently on the disabled list. The Tigers have gone 6-10 against Kansas City this season, and 2-4 at home. If the Tigers want to make the postseason, they'll need to take advantage of a reeling Royals team at home.
It seems like the Royals have been labeled more times than any other team in the MLB this year. First, they were classic World Series champions who had a rough start to the following year, then they were a resurgent team that found a way to win games despite youth and injuries. Now, they're a team who fell apart at the end and couldn’t even make it to October just a year after going all the way. Though Mike Moustakas suffered a season-ending injury early in the year and Alex Gordon has his own injury problems, the team still retained most of its main pieces. The difference has been the pitching. Only two pitchers have an ERA below 4.00, and the same two are the only ones with winning records. The World Series Royals team of last year hung its hat on stellar pitching and dependable defense. This year’s squad can’t exactly say the same. The last few weeks of the season will be a good time for the Royals to utilize their farm system and observe some young talent.
For the Tigers, it’ll be Matt Boyd making the start. He’s had an unspectacular season, going 5-4 with a 4.43 ERA. He was absolutely pounded in his only start on the road against the Royals this year, giving up seven runs on eight hits in only three and two-thirds innings in a 16-5 Tigers loss. He’ll hope to fare better at home this time, where he’s gone 3-2 this year.
Edison Volquez, the Royals ace, will start for Kansas City on Sunday. Though he’s the number one guy on their depth chart, he’s only their nominal ace. Danny Duffy, who currently holds an 11-2 record and a 3.13 ERA, has been the true ace this year for Kansas City. This season, Volquez has been 10-11 with a 5.40 ERA. He’s won just two of his last 12 starts, though both victories came on the road. In three starts against the Tigers this season, he’s gone 2-0 and given up nine runs in 20 innings. This will be Volquez’s first start against Detroit on the road this season.
- Sports.net’s top tip: The Royals are out of postseason contention and Volquez has been anything but consistent. Back the Tigers to win this one 8-4.