Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Detroit Tigers (21-25) at Kansas City Royals (15-35)

DETROIT TIGERS NOTES:

TIGERS DROP MIDDLE GAME IN KC: The Tigers lost to the Royals 4-1 on Tuesday night. Javier Báez had a pair of hits and drove in a run, while Akil Baddoo, Miguel Cabrera, Riley Greene, Nick Maton, Zach McKinstry and Matt Vierling each had one hit. Eduardo Rodriguez started for Detroit and took the loss, giving up four runs, two earned, on eight hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Tyler Holton pitched 3.0 shutout innings in relief with three hits allowed, one walk and one strikeout.

WHAT A RELIEF: Tyler Holton threw 3.0 shutout innings in last night’s game, continuing the solid performance from Detroit’s bullpen. Tigers relievers have not allowed a run in the last three games, throwing 13.1 consecutive scoreless frames. Since April 15, Detroit’s relief corps have combined for a Major League best 2.55 ERA (120.0IP/34ER), while also leading the American League and ranking second in the Majors with a
1.10 WHIP.

RILEY AGAINST THE ROYALS: Riley Greene went 1×3 with a walk in last night’s game and has now hit safely in all 17 games he’s played in his career against Kansas City, batting .314/.392/.429 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and four RBI. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Greene’s 17-game hitting streak against the Royals is tied with Josh Bell (17-game hitting streak vs. New York (NL)) for the third-longest current hitting streak vs. one team among active players, trailing only Freddie Freeman (20-game hitting streak vs. Boston) and Starling Marte (18-game hitting streak vs. Texas).

TIGERS AND ROYALS: The Tigers and Royals conclude their first series of the season tonight. After tonight, the two teams will next meet at Comerica Park for a three-game series from June 19-21. Detroit went 10-9 against Kansas City last season with the two teams splitting 10 meetings at Kauffman Stadium. The Tigers have won the season series over the Royals just twice since 2015.

AGAINST THE AL CENTRAL: The Tigers continue divisional play tonight against the Royals. Detroit is 5-3 against American League Central teams so far this season, going 4-2 vs. Cleveland and 1-1 vs. Kansas City. The Tigers have finished below .500 against AL Central foes in each of the last five 162-game seasons, including a 34-42 record last season.

ON THE ROAD: The Tigers are 2-3 on their six-game road trip, which includes three games at Washington (1-2) and three games at Kansas City (1-1). Detroit has an 11-15 record away from Comerica Park this season. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .223/.297/.339 on the road, while the
pitching staff has a 4.46 ERA (226.0IP/112ER).

ON DECK: Following tonight’s game, the Tigers return home to begin a seven-game homestand, which opens with four against the White Sox, the first series of the season between the two teams. Detroit went 7-12 against Chicago (AL) last season, including a 2-7 record at Comerica Park.

TIGERS ON THE IL:

  • RHP Beau Brieske (right upper arm discomfort, 60-day IL on March 30, retroactive to March 27)
  • OF Kerry Carpenter (right shoulder sprain, 10-day IL on April 29, retroactive to April 28)
  • RHP Matt Manning (right foot fracture, 60-day IL on April 12)
  • OF Austin Meadows (anxiety, 60-day IL on April 8, retroactive to April 7)
  • RHP Casey Mize (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on February 17)
  • RHP Freddy Pacheco (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on March 27)
  • LHP Tarik Skubal (left elbow strain, 60-day IL on March 14)
  • RHP Spencer Turnbull (neck discomfort, 15-day IL on May 12, retroactive to May 7)
  • RHP Trey Wingenter (right biceps tendinitis, 15-day IL on April 22, retroactive to April 19)

TONIGHT’S TIGERS STARTING PITCHER – #48 Matthew Boyd • 3-3, 6.21 ERA (37.2IP/26ER)

  • Boyd will make his ninth start of the season tonight in the series finale at Kansas City.
  • Picked up his third win of the season on Friday at Washington, giving up three runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
  • Has made 27 career appearances, including 26 starts, against the Royals, posting a 7-11 record with a 5.44 ERA (130.2IP/79ER) and 103 strikeouts…in 14 career outings, including 13 starts, at Kauffman Stadium, Boyd has a 4-6 record with a 6.68 ERA (66.0IP/49ER) and 53 strikeouts.
  • Missed most of the 2022 season while rehabbing from an injury, but returned in September to pitch in 10 games and help Seattle to the playoffs…went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA (13.1IP/2ER) and 13 strikeouts in his 10 outings with the Mariners.
  • Is in his second stint with the Tigers…was with the organization from 2015-21, appearing in 147 games, including 143 starts, and compiling a 37-60 record with a 4.87 ERA (777.2IP/421ER) and 752 strikeouts.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS NOTES:

MAGIC MIKE: The Royals evened the series with a 4-1 win over the Tigers last night at Kauffman Stadium, thanks in part to starter Mike Mayers, who allowed just 1 run on 6 hits over 4.2 innings…Mayers, who was making his 200th career appearance but just his 7th start, recorded a career-high 8 strikeouts and issued only 1 walk…he retired 10 of the first 11 batters and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 4th…he exited after back-to-back 2-out singles in the 5th and fell 1 out shy of qualifying for the win…Jose Cuas allowed 1 of Mayer’s inherited runners to score, but the bullpen combined for 4.1 scoreless innings, capped by a scoreless 9th from Aroldis Chapman, who recorded his 317th career save and 2nd with the Royals…the offense stranded 11 baserunners and went just 2-for-11 in scoring situations, but five straight reached vs. Eduardo Rodriguez in the 4th, including RBI hits by Michael Massey and Maikel Garcia, who had a team-high 3 knocks.

Mayers was the Royals 10th different starting pitcher this season, 1 shy of the Rays for the Majors lead.

WHAT A RELIEF!: The bullpen combined for 4.1 scoreless innings in last night’s 4-1 win, continuing its run of excellence over the last two-plus weeks…in the Royals last 17 games (since May 6), their relievers lead Major League Baseball with 84 strikeouts and rank among the American League leaders in opponents’ average (.214, 2nd), innings pitched (71.1, 3rd) and ERA (2.78, 4th)…the bullpen has averaged more than 4.0 innings per game during this stretch, and that’s including Jordan Lyles’ complete game on May 9 vs. the White Sox.

Royals relievers lead the Majors this season with 229 strikeouts, rank 2nd with 10.7 K/9 and 4th with a 26.9 K%, all of which mark big improvements over last season, when their bullpen ranked 21st with an 8.5 K/9, 25th with 552 strikeouts and 26th with a 21.2 K%…their current rates would be single-season club records.

Josh Staumont pitched a scoreless 7th inning last night to mark his 13th scoreless appearance in 16 outings since his April 14 recall…he’s held opponents to a .173 average (9-for-52) with 19 strikeouts (11.1 K/9).

Taylor Clarke pitched a scoreless 8th inning last night, extending his scoreless streak to 9.2 innings over 9 appearances, during which he’s held opponents to a .182 average (6-for-33) with 11 strikeouts…this run is just 1 out shy of his career-best scoreless streak of 10.0 innings, done last season from June 28-July 16.

Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless 9th last night to earn his 317th career save, and is now 1 shy of Rick Aguilera (318) for 23rd on the all-time saves list, and is only 2 saves shy of Todd Jones (319) for 22nd.

Carlos Hernández retired all six batters he faced while serving as the opener in Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Chicago…it was his 9th scoreless outing in his last 11, a stretch in which he owns a 1.15 ERA (2 ER in 15.2 IP), has held opponents to a .148 average (8-for-54) and 4 walks (2.3 BB/9) with 23 strikeouts (13.2 K/9).

WHEN RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD: After splitting the 1st 2 games of this series, the Royals will play their 5th rubber game of the season tonight vs. the Tigers…all 5 of those series-deciding games have come in the Royals last eight 3-game sets, after each of their first six series of the season were decided before the final game.

The Royals lost their 1st 3 series-deciding games, but won their most recent on May 17 in San Diego.

Kansas City has won its last 5 rubber games vs. the Tigers since their last loss on May 5, 2019 at Detroit.

The Royals are 3-12 in series this year, but with a win tonight, they would improve to 3-2 in their last five.

The Royals will visit Detroit for the first time this season for a 3-game set next month from June 19-21.

SALVY SPLASHES: Royals Captain Salvador Perez hit his team-leading 11th home run in the 1st inning Monday night, which are tied for 6th most in the American League, just 3 HR behind league leaders Aaron Judge and Adolis García (14 each)…of his team-best 11 home runs, 6 have either tied the game or given the Royals a lead.

Salvy has hit 8 home runs in 19 games this month, 1 behind Christopher Morel for the Major League lead…his 8 HR are 1 shy of the single-season club record for the month of May, set by Gary Gaetti in 1995.

In his last 24 games since April 24, Perez is tied for the Majors lead with 9 HR, ranks 3rd with a .677 slugging percentage, 5th with a 1.052 OPS and is tied for 7th with a .333 batting average (31-for-104).

Royals catchers have hit 13 HR this season—including 9 by Perez—which are the most of any position on the team and the highest total at the catcher position in the Majors, 2 more than the Braves catchers (11).

His 27 HR and 90 RBI vs. Detroit are his 2nd most vs. any opponent, trailing 32 HR and 109 RBI vs. the Twins.

SOUTHPAW STORY: The Royals faced a left-handed starting pitcher in Eduardo Rodriguez last night for the first time since May 6, when they lost to Oakland’s Ken Waldichuck…that snapped a run of 15 consecutive games vs. right-handed starting pitchers, and last night’s win was their 1st in a game vs. an opposing southpaw since April 22 against the Angels Tyler Anderson…the Royals will keep the southpaw story alive tonight with their second straight matchup vs. a lefty in Detroit’s Matthew Boyd…the Royals are 12-14 in Boyd’s 26 career starts against them, but he hasn’t beaten the Royals since 2020, and went he 0-2 in 4 starts vs. them in 2021.

Maikel Garcia is 6-for-16 (.375) vs. left-handed pitchers since his May 2 recall, including 3 hits last night.

Left-handed batters Michael Massey and Nick Pratto have fared well vs. left-handed pitching, batting .360 (9-for-25) and .316 (6-for-19), respectively…in fact, Massey’s .360 average vs. southpaws is the 2nd best among all left-handed batters (min. 25 AB), trailing only Anthony Rizzo, who’s batting .405 (17-for-42).

Nicky Lopez hit his 1st career HR off Boyd four years ago on June 13, 2019 in a game that took place at Omaha’s Charles Schwab Field (formerly TD Ameritrade Park), where he played collegiately with Creighton.

GETTING AHEAD: The Royals have held a lead in 16 of their 21 games in the month of May, but they’re only 8-13 this month with 8 blown lead losses…the only games this month in which they haven’t held a lead were May 5 vs. Baltimore, when they trailed 9-2, cut the deficit to 9-8, but lost 12-8; May 12 at Milwaukee, a 5-1 loss; May 15 in San Diego, a 4-0 loss; last Friday night in Chicago, where they were blanked in a 2-0 loss and Monday night vs. Detroit, a game in which they forced extra innings but lost, 8-5…for the season, the Royals 16 blown lead losses are tied for the 3rd most in the Majors, trailing only the Athletics (18) and Guardians (17).

The Royals 8 wins in 21 games in May are more than the 7 wins they had in 29 games in March/April.

HOME: The Royals continue a 6-game homestand tonight with the last of 3 games vs. the Tigers, before hosting the Nationals for 3 games this weekend for the first time since 2016…Monday night began a stretch in which the Royals are playing 9 of 11 games at home, with the only exceptions being a 2-game set in St. Louis next week… that will continue a run of four consecutive series vs. National League opponents, including a 3-game stay vs. the Rockies next weekend and 3 games in Miami as part of a 6-game trip to begin the first week of June.

The Royals are 7-18 at Kauffman Stadium this season, but have won 5 of their last 7 after starting 2-16.

Tomorrow’s off day will be the second of four off days in a 15-day stretch, a run that began last Thursday and also includes back-to-back off days next Wednesday and Thursday, following a 2-game set in St. Louis

TONIGHT’S STARTERS: RHP ZACK GREINKE (1-5, 4.82)
ZACK GREINKE is making his 11th start of the season and 525th of his career tonight vs. the Tigers, and is 2 starts behind Jerry Koosman and Hall of Famer Jack Morris for 37th on the all-time starts list…it’s his 33rd career appearance (30th start) vs. the Tigers and 3rd since returning to Kansas City last year…Greinke, now in his 20th season in the Majors, is a six-time All-Star, a six-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winner and was named the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2009 with the Royals.

He is one of three pitchers in Major League history with at least six Rawlings Gold Gloves and six All-Star selections, along with Greg Maddux and Bob Gibson.

Among active pitchers, Greinke ranks 1st in starts (524) and innings (3299.1), 2nd in wins (224) and 3rd in strikeouts (2,918)…he is one of three pitchers in Major League history to win a Cy Young Award, a Rawlings Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award, along with Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser.

LAST START: Greinke suffered his 5th loss of the season in last Friday night’s 2-0 defeat on the South Side of Chicago, in which he was charged with 2 runs on 5 hits and no walks in 5.2 innings, with 4 strikeouts…the game’s only runs came in the 2nd, when the White Sox started the inning with 4 straight hits off Zack, including an RBI single by Gavin Sheets…on the following play, a single by Jake Burger, Greinke threw out Sheets, who overran second base, but Romy González drove in another run on a sacrifice fly…that began a stretch in which he retired 13 of 15 but the damage was done, and Michael Kopech (8.0 IP) and Kendal Graveman (1.0 IP) combined to allow just 1 hit and faced the minimum as the Royals were blanked for the eighth time.

Zack has completed at least 5.0 innings in 9 of his 10 starts this season.

GRE1NKE: Zack’s May 13 start in Milwaukee ended on a called third strike of Milwaukee’s Joey Wiemer in the 5th inning, which marked the 1,000th different batter Zack has struck out in his 20-year career…he’s the fifth pitcher in Major League history, according to Kenny Jackelen of Baseball Reference, to fan 1,000 different batters, joining Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens…he’s since added 1 more victim to run his total to 1,001 players struck out.

Among the 1,001 batters he’s struck out includes Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Frank Thomas, Scott Rolen, Derek Jeter, Iván Rodríguez, David Ortiz and Jim Thome…he’s fanned 10 sets of brothers, one father/son duo—Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Jr.—and six current big league Managers, including Rocco Baldelli, Aaron Boone, Craig Counsell, Mark Kotsay, Phil Nevin & Skip Schumaker.

Greinke is 82 strikeouts shy of becoming the 20th pitcher to reach 3,000.

WALKING ON WATER: Zack’s pinpoint control has been on full display this season, his 20th in the Majors…the 39-year-old has issued only 7 walks to the 216 batters he’s faced through 10 starts (52.1 IP) 1.2 BB/9 and 3.2 BB%, both of which rank 3rd in the Majors behind George Kirby and Anthony DeSclafani…Zack has faced 50 batters since his last walk to Gavin Sheets in the 3rd inning on May 8 in Kansas City.

Greinke has had 4 starts this season in which he did not issue a walk over at least 5.0 innings, which tails only Framber Valdez and Patrick Corbin (5 each).

The Royals have had 11 starts this year in which their pitcher recorded 5.0 innings without allowing a walk, which is tied with the Phillies, Dodgers and Mariners for the most starts in the Majors…they had only 23 such starts in 2022.

BACK IN BLUE: Zack returned in 2023 for the second straight year to Kansas City, where he spent the first seven seasons of his Major League career, after being selected by the Royals 6th overall in the 2002 Draft…Greinke is the 33rd player to play for the Royals, leave the organization and later return…he missed time due to two stints on the Injured List in 2022, limiting him to only 137.0 innings, the 4th fewest in his career behind the shortened 2020 season (67.0 IP), 2006 (6.1 IP) and 2007 (122.0 IP)…he did, however, rank 2nd among Royals starters with a 3.68 ERA (56 ER in 137.0 IP). Tonight marks Zack’s 206th start with the Royals, which ranks 7th most in club history, trailing Paul Splittorff (392), Mark Gubicza (327), Dennis Leonard (302), Kevin Appier (275), Bret Saberhagen (226) and Larry Gura (219).…his 1,040 strikeouts with the Royals rank 7th, 8 shy of Duffy.

VS. TIGERS: In 32 career appearances (29 starts) vs. the Tigers, Zack is 13-8 with a 2.84 ERA (56 ER in 177.2 IP), but it’s been more than 10 years since he last beat Detroit on Sept. 9, 2012 with the Angels…he’s faced the Tigers only 5 times since and is 0-2 despite a 3.34 ERA (11 ER in 29.2 IP), including 7.0 scoreless innings in his last start in Detroit on Sept. 27, 2022, and he did not factor into the decision of Kansas City’s 4-3 loss.

CROWN VISION: Tonight marks Zack’s 112th career start at Kauffman Stadium, 3 shy of Bret Saberhagen for the 5th-most starts in the 51-season history of the ballpark…he’s 5-4 with a 2.30 ERA (24 ER in 94.0 IP) in 17 home starts since returning to the Royals in 2022, including 1-2 in 5 starts in 2023.

Zack has allowed 2 earned runs or fewer in 20 of his last 24 starts at Kauffman Stadium dating back to Sept. 30, 2010, a stretch in which he owns a 2.41 ERA (37 ER in 138.0 IP), including 6 starts as a visitor from 2012-21…Zack has allowed just 3 HR in his last 19 starts at Kauffman Stadium, dating back to 2019, including a HR by Ozzie Albies on April 16 vs. Atlanta, which snapped his streak of 44.2 homerless innings here.

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