The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers were supposed to play the first game of the series last night, but the rain interfered with the release of the kraken. The two team's will meet for the first time this season tonight instead.
Wade Davis and Max Scherzer, who were scheduled to start yesterday, will start of their respective teams tonight instead. The Royals are choosing to skip Luis Mendoza's start in the rotation for a second straight time.
Scherzer has been absolutely ridiculous this season. The University of Missouri product has struck out 40%(!) of the batters he has faced this season while only walking 5.3% of hitters. You could even argue that Scherzer has experienced bad luck this season, as his .385 BABIP has helped inflate his ERA to 2.84, a full-run higher than his 1.33 FIP.
The 28 year-old pitcher will not continue to strike out 40% of the hitters he faces for the rest of the season, but an increased swinging strike percentage and first pitch strike percentage suggest that Scherzer is a real threat to at least match his 29.4% strikeout percentage from last season. Since all the Tigers needed was another ace in their staff.
Davis has a shiny 2.25 ERA, but a 3.52 FIP and 93.8% LOB% suggest regression is in the right-handed pitcher's future. The former Tampa Bay Ray has shown some positive signs, as his walk rate is currently 4.5%, which would easily be a career low. Davis absolutely shut-down the Atlanta Braves in his last start, and will hope to continue his success against another high-octane lineup.
It's going to be extremely difficult not to blow these next two games out of proportion, especially if the Royals sweep the Tigers or get swept. Kansas City baseball fans are so starved for relevance that a battle for first-place in April feels important. After this two-game series, Detroit and Kansas City will meet 16 more times over the course of the season, including six times in September.
That being said, I won't complain if the Royals take the first step tonight towards a winning record against the Tigers.