Losing a series to the Indians? Ouch. The Royals did manage to avoid the sweep with a 6-4 victory on Sunday afternoon. The Royals will travel to Detroit to begin the week and then travel to Cleveland for a four-game weekend series to wrap up the Royals away schedule for the year. The Royals are looking forward to getting their last road trip off to a good start by sending out their ace, Zack Greinke, who is known to be a Tiger killer.
Game 1: Zack Greinke (9-12) vs. Rick Porcello (9-11)
Zack Greinke can become the Royals second ten game winner of the season with a victory against the Tigers. His history against the Tigers would strongly indicate that he should be able to do this. In his career he has amassed an 11-5 record but has yet to notch a victory against them this season. Both were solid starts but he ended up taking no decisions both times. If Greinke wins this decision, he will have consecutive double-digit winning seasons.
Porcello may not have as many starts as Greinke has against the Tigers but has been just as impressive. His 3-1 career mark against the Royals includes two wins in the past month and an overall ERA of 4.03. He missed his most recent start due to a finger injury but is scheduled to make this one according to the latest reports. Like Greinke, Porcello is also wanting to notch consecutive double-digit winning seasons.
Game 2: Bruce Chen (10-7) vs. Armando Galarraga (4-6)
Bruce Chen never ceases to amaze me. He notches ten wins faster than last year’s Cy Young winner and still has time to possibly reach the teens in wins with three starts remaining on the schedule. He will be making his fourth start this season against the Tigers on Tuesday. Previously, he has a record of 1-1 and has a no decision to his credit so far. In his career he is 1-3 with an ERA of 7.00. The last time he faced the Tigers, he kept the ball in the ball park which was a problem for him against a few of the Tiger’s hitters, including Johnny Damon and Miguel Cabrera.
Gallarraga made a spot start in place of Porcello last Wednesday and he didn’t last long. He was taken out after 3.2 innings after giving up seven earned runs, eight hits and a walk to the Texas Rangers. His last start against the Royals he was good but was not part of the final decision. He went five strong innings while giving up one earned run despite issuing five walks and four hits. His elbow has been tender as of late and if the Royals can take pitches early, this can force him to make another early exit.
Game 3: Kyle Davies (8-10) vs. Max Scherzer (11-10)
Davies got shelled by Cleveland on Saturday. The final score was 11-4 and Davies gave up five of those runs. Up until this most recent start he had been nearly unhittable in career September starts. He still has an impressive career winning percentage in September of .818. On the other hand though, the Tigers have roughed Davies up no matter what time of the season it is. He has a career mark of 3-7 against them with an ERA of 5.64. In his most recent start against Detroit he lasted six innings and gave up only one earned run.
Are the Detroit sluggers going to show up or are they not? This has been the biggest difference between a Tigers team that went to the World Series only a handful of seasons ago. Are the Royals going to try and use some of their speed as they did on Sunday? This and timely hitting have been two big “ifs” all season for the Royals. Both teams rank among the top tier in the American League in team batting average.
Both of these teams are near the bottom or are the bottom of the league in fielding percentage. Inconsistencies have proven devastating to any momentum either team had hoped to establish during the season. This has been a big difference between these two teams and the division leader, the Minnesota Twins, who are ranked second.
Both teams have below average team ERAs. Both teams have also been known to not be able to strike a lot of batters out. This means a lot of balls should be expected to be put into play which puts more pressure on the defenses to perform flawlessly. The plaguing injury to two of the Tigers’ starters leads me to believe that the Royals will have an edge in this category. If Soria, gets a save in this series it will be number 40 for him this year. This would mark the second time in his career that he was able to reach this mark.
Both teams are travelling after Sunday’s games to meet up in Detroit. However, the Royals have the benefit of having their game starting in the early afternoon, whereas the Tigers didn’t begin playing until 7:05 CST. Fatigue for the position players will probably be a factor for the Tigers’ everyday players unless Jim Leyland decided to give them Sunday off.