I feel like just a few weeks ago the new season started fresh, anew with hope that everyone would improve and that the Royals might make the postseason for the first time in 29 years.
We are three games away, folks. Three. Any combination of three Kansas City Royals victories or Seattle Mariners losses will grant the Royals postseason play. That is unfathomable. The fact that Kansas City is only a game behind the Tigers and has a shot at the division (and a free pass to the ALDS) is also unable to be fathomed. Dead last in ISO and BB%, this team marches forward to its happy ending.
Today is a big one for a number of reasons. For the Detroit Tigers, it represents the most challenging contest for the rest of the regular season, as they must face Chris Sale, Cy Young contender. For the Cleveland Indians, a loss officially knocks them out of any playoff spot. For the Royals, it means a vital step towards the postseason and a fundamental shift in judgment of Dayton Moore's squad. For me, it is the birthday of my fiancee. Let us hope that she is blessed with a Royals victory on the anniversary of her existence.
Kansas City sends Jason Vargas to the mound. The entire season in these game threads, I have worried aloud about the gap between his ERA and FIP, fearing regression. Well, regression has indeed hit, and he's finally reached stability, with a 3.59 ERA and a 3.72 FIP. He's been way better than any of us, Moore included, thought he would be, which has been an absolute treat.
Racists Indians send Trevor Bauer, age 23, to the mound. Bauer has largely been average this year, with an ERA, FIP, and xFIP all extremely close to 4. In 11 innings/2 starts against the Royals this year, he's only given up 3 runs. Hopefully the Royals can tag him for a few more and keep their divisional hopes alive.
I'll still be working at game start, so if you brilliant commenters could throw the lineups up and green them that would be swell. If this is my last gamethread this year, I thank you all for enduring my strangeness for this first year. Keep it coming, guys, and Be Royak.