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Game CVXI: The Royals of Kansas City Versus The White Stockings of Chicago

It still means something.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What we can not lose in the euphoria of last night's victory is that tonight's game still means something. With Detroit falling 11-4 to the Minnesota Twins, the Kansas City Royals find themselves just one game back of the division with two games left to play. If Detroit stumbles and the Royals persevere, last night's petite fête could just have been the precursor.

Tonight, the Royals will send Danny Duffy (9-11, 2.32 ERA) to the mound. Something you may not have noticed is the fact that, of American League pitchers with at least 100 IP, Danny Duffy is second in ERA only to Chris Sale, whose only deterrence from winning the AL Cy Young is the fact that he has only made 26 starts this season.

That isn't to say that Duffy has been exceptionally great. His lackluster peripherals (6.90 K/9, 3.18 BB/9) and predictive figures (3.64 FIP, 4.39 xFIP) insist that he has been, so far this season, at least on the broad side of lucky. But, as a flyball pitcher in the largest park in baseball, pitching in front of the best defense in the American League, you can expect to outperform those numbers somewhat.

In his last start, Duffy went six innings, gave up six hits, two walks, and struck out five without allowing a run, after having skipped a pair of starts with shoulder problems.

The Stockings will counter with John Danks (10-11, 4.82) who, if you were curious where he ranks in ERA among pitchers with 100 innings, is 66th out of 72 qualified pitchers. But don't let that fool you; in his last start against Kansas City (twelve days ago), he pitched six shutout innings, striking out six while walking four and yielding just two hits. For the year, though, he's been pretty bad. Which is to say, he's been seventh-from-first in the saddest race to mediocrity and a lack of alternatives.

Detroit and Kansas City play concurrent games tonight, as each team will begin play shortly after six o'clock, as measured by Central Standard time.

Did I mention the Royals have made the post-season? Anyway, the Royals have made the post-season. haaaaarrfaaahhhhghrghrhgaaaaha.