The last-place Detroit Tigers come to town to face the Kansas City Royals, who are in first place by a wide margin. That is a strange sentence to type, but it happens to be true, as the Tigers trail the Royals--who possess the best record in the American League by half a dozen games--by a whopping 20 games heading into tonight's tilt.
The first of this three-game set will feature high-profile righties Justin Verlander and Johnny Cueto in what on paper looks to be the best of the pitching match-ups between the two teams.
While he may not be the Verlander of yore, he has allowed more than one earned run in just one of his past seven starts and is coming off a complete-game one-hitter in which he allowed just three Angels' base-runners while striking out nine. Of course that one hiccup in his last seven outings came at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, who roughed up Kate Upton's beau to the tune of five earned runs on ten hits and a hung dong in seven innings.
Since coming over to the Royals, Cueto has a 3.95 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 3.66 xFIP, and a 3.74 SIERA, with his last two starts (six earned runs ceded against both Baltimore and Boston in a total of 11 innings pitched) tarnishing the work he had done in his first four rock-solid appearances in a Royals' uniform.
With newly expanded rosters with the turn of the calendar to September, the visiting Tigers will align themselves in the following manner:
#Tigers lineup at KC: Gose CF Kinsler 2B Cabrera 1B J. Martinez RF V. Martinez DH Castellanos 3B Collins LF McCann C Iglesias SS Verlander P— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 1, 2015
The Royals--who will be without the services of Alexis Rios and Kelvin Herrera, both of whom are sidelined with chicken pox for as much as the next two weeks--will field the following starting lineup:
#Royals open series with the Tigers at 7:10 CT on @FSKansasCity, @610SportsKC & @MLBTV. http://t.co/qgN9991hRq pic.twitter.com/iEKj7VZPva— Royals (@Royals) September 1, 2015
The obvious issue here is the placement of Alex Gordon in this lineup. Perhaps this changes when both he and Moustakas are in the lineup. Hopefully Terrance Gore gets to pinch-run and steal a million bases to make up for this.