Hot on the heels of the Royals getting a share of the AL Central Division lead thanks to a sweep of Cleveland, Kansas City will play a four-game set with the Detroit Tigers. A lopsided weekend could really help the Royals set the Tigers back.
Game One - Thursday, 7:15 PM CDT
|Danny Duffy (L)||22||49.0||59||10||2.94||3.12||3.33||2.85|
Though his ERA stands at a relatively pedestrian 3.77, Justin Verlander has actually pitched quite well. In a resurgent 2016 campaign, his K-rates (9.42 K/9, 26.2 K%) are at their best marks since his 2009 season, and his K-BB% (19.2) is his best mark in that category since 2011. 2011 happened to be the year in which he won both the American League Cy Young and the Most Valuable Player Awards. Of course, he also enjoyed a .239 BABIP that season, a mark he'll likely not enjoy again. He is also allowing home runs at a slightly higher rate than he has in the past, which begins to explain why his ERA is not sitting closer to even with his peripherals. This will be the first time the Royals see Verlander this season.
Danny Duffy has looked like the pitcher every Royals fan dreamed he would be since being slotted back into the rotation. The walks have evaporated into the ether. The strikeouts and command are spectacular. His one slight problem spot has been in the long-ball department, but it hasn't been enough to derail a sterling young 2016.
Game Two - Friday, 7:15 PM CDT
The key get in the Yoenis Cespedes deal last year, Michael Fulmer shook off a rocky start to his big league career and now heads into Friday's action riding a 28.1 scoreless innings streak. As highlighted by August Fagerstrom at FanGraphs, Fulmer is using a change-up that mere weeks ago was a fringy third pitch and a significant question mark in regards to his future as a big-league starting pitcher but is now a killer out pitch. It's early, but he could be the truth.
Ventura is coming off what has to be considered his best start of the season. That it came as he stares down a suspension for more on-field nonsense is more worrisome, though probably not as worrisome as the general struggles he has endured this season.
Game Three - Saturday, 7:15 PM CDT
Thus far, Matt Boyd has thrown more than 5.1 innings just once in his four starts. As the second-best piece the Tigers got in the David Price deal last year, Boyd started to establish himself as a mid-rotation celiinged prospect in 2015. Of course, the on-field results since his promotion have not matched that ceiling.
Volquez is who you think he is.
Game Four - Sunday, 1:15 PM CDT
For whatever reason, Jordan Zimmermann is not racking up the Ks like he is accustomed to. His K-Rates are at all-time lows. Facing the least strikeout-prone team in baseball probably doesn't bode well for Zimmerman if that's the case.
Chris Young shouldn't be this bad. Maybe he proves that belief to be true on Sunday.
Stats through Tuesday, June 14
With a .271/.331/.418 slash making a .330wOBA, the Tigers offense is not one to be trifiled with. They are lean, they are mean, and they are headed by one of the games' best hitters. This stacked lineup could well be a problem for the Royals' shaky rotation.
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