It appears that the Kansas City Royals merely ran out of options in the bullpen Wednesday night as the New York Yankees were able to squeeze out a 5-4 win. The Royals were the hottest team in the majors, winning 18 of 22 before suffering back-to-back losses to the Yankees in extra innings.
Detroit Tigers-Kansas City Royals Series Preview
Kansas City looks to bounce back when the Detroit Tigers come to town on Friday night for a three-game series. The Tigers have climbed back into the American League Central race, winning eight of 10 to draw within 4 1/2 games of division-leading Cleveland Indians while moving into a tie with the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card.
In his first two games in the majors, rookie JaCoby Jones has made an immediate impact, going 4-for-8 with three doubles as Detroit completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (11-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound on Friday against Tigers’ pitcher Anibal Sanchez (7-13, 5.92 ERA). The right-hander Sanchez was knocked around pretty well in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his last time out, giving up five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. However, he was exceptional in a no-decision against Kansas City last month. Sanchez threw seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball versus the Royals on August 17th and is 6-4 with a 2.56 ERA against them.
Duffy’s streak of 10 consecutive wins came to an end on Saturday at Boston, when he was lit up for seven runs on nine hits and surrendered three homers over five innings in his first loss since June 6. The 27-year-old Duffy dominated the Tigers on Aug. 16, only allowing a solo homer among three hits in 7 2/3 innings.
Saturday’s pitching slate consists of Yordano Ventura (9-9, 4.33 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (10-5, 2.69 ERA). Although Fulmer pitched a complete game shutout in Arlington back on August 14th, his last two starts have been less than impressive. The right-hander lost in both outings, giving up nine total earned runs in 10 innings of work.
Ventura’s last outing against Detroit on the 17th of August was quite successful. He held the Tigers to just one run through six innings. Although he gave up 13 hits in his next two starts, he only recorded 3 total unearned runs through 10 innings. The Royals have been searching for a level of consistency from the young right-hander.
Rounding out the Sunday slot, Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.37 ERA) will face Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.86 ERA). Norris has been relatively middle of the road in his last two starts, averaging 3 earned runs. The left-hander is averaging four strikeouts per outing.
Gee’s last three starts have been a breath of fresh air. He’s gone 2-1, giving up a total of five unearned runs through a healthy 18 innings of work. Perhaps he is on the right track to becoming a solidified fifth starter in this rotation that can be relied upon.
The Royals have dominated the season series this year, winning 9 of the 13 meetings so far, including three straight and seven of the past nine. Most of the games were low scoring affairs, so runs could be at a premium. Trailing the Tigers by just 3 games, the Royals could immensely help their chances with a series sweep. Detroit just swept at home by Kansas City in a three-game series August 15-17, getting outscored by a 13-3 margin.