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Detroit Tigers series preview - Bad meets bad

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It can always get worse.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals travel to Comerica Park to face the dastardly Detroit Tigers in a three-game tilt between the presumptive cellar dwellers in the American League Central. This skirmish will surely summon fond memories of Dmitri Young and Bobby Higginson going toe-to-toe against the likes of Darrell May and Chris George, battling in plate appearance after plate appearance each one happening as relevance gets further and further away. You can’t buy memories like these; or, at the very least, you won’t find any takers if you’re trying to sell them.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

Monday, April 2, 12:10 PM CDT - Jason Hammel versus Francisco Liriano (L)

Tuesday, April 3, 12:10 PM CDT - Jake Junis versus Matthew Boyd (L)

Wednesday, April 4, 12:10 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (L) versus Daniel Norris (L)

Detroit Tigers position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Leonys Martin (L) CF 138 3 14 9 7 .172 .232 .281 .224 35 -0.4 0.0
Jeimer Candelario (S) 3B 106 2 16 13 0 .330 .406 .468 .379 137 0.6 0.3
Miguel Cabrera 1B 529 16 50 60 0 .249 .329 .399 .313 91 -0.2 -0.8
Nicholas Castellanos RF 665 26 73 101 4 .272 .320 .490 .341 111 1.7 0.7
Victor Martinez (S) DH 435 10 38 47 0 .255 .324 .372 .303 85 -1.1 -0.6
James McCann C 391 13 39 49 1 .253 .318 .415 .316 94 1.5 1.4
Mikie Mahtook LF 379 12 50 38 6 .276 .330 .457 .335 107 1.6 0.6
José Iglesias SS 489 6 56 54 7 .255 .288 .369 .283 71 1.6 1.3
Dixon Machado 2B 181 1 17 11 1 .259 .302 .319 .273 64 -0.5 -0.5
John Hicks C 190 6 25 22 2 .266 .326 .439 .328 102 0.3 0.3
Niko Goodrum (S) IF 18 0 1 0 0 .059 .111 .059 .087 -63 -0.2 -0.2
JaCoby Jones OF 154 3 14 13 6 .170 .240 .270 .229 34 -0.7 -0.1
Victor Reyes (S) OF - - - - - - - - - - - -

When ZiPS only projects two position players to be 2.0 fWAR or better, things may not be looking good for your club. When one of those two players is coming off a below-replacement-level campaign and is owed at least $30M per year from now through the end of the 2023 season, the prospects for success get decidedly murkier than an already cloudy picture. The Royals are not likely to be good any time soon, but these ain’t the Tigers of yore. This is a Tigers team that can afford to roster a fifth outfielder (Victor Reyes) who they took in the Rule 5 draft and is unlikely to hit well per scouting reports that details a swing that was a mess.

Royals at Tigers pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Jason Hammel 32 180.1 145 18.0 48 6.0 5.29 4.37 4.92 4.65 2.1 1.4
Francisco Liriano (L) 38 97.0 85 19.4 53 12.1 5.66 4.64 5.04 5.09 0.8 -0.3
Jake Junis 20 98.1 80 19.0 25 5.9 4.30 4.55 4.77 4.49 0.9 1.4
Matthew Boyd (L) 26 135.0 110 18.2 53 8.8 5.27 4.51 5.01 4.94 1.9 1.4
Danny Duffy (L) 24 146.1 130 21.4 41 6.7 3.81 3.46 4.39 4.31 3.4 3.3
Daniel Norris (L) 22 101.2 86 18.7 44 9.6 5.31 4.39 5.06 4.94 1.3 0.6

There is not a lot of good in that trio of Tigers hurlers. Francisco Liriano was good once. Now? Not so much. Daniel Norris and Matthew “Don’t Call Me Matt, Matty, or Thew” Boyd will make their first starts of the season. Messrs. Norris and Boyd both throw baseballs with their left hands. Victimized by a garbage defense behind them (second-worst DRS in baseball, worsted only by the New York Mets), both Boyd and Norris suffered the ignominy of ERAs significantly worse than their FIP suggested they pitched. Of course, each unfortunate southpaw’s xFIP and SIERA found a middle-ground between the two marks, so perhaps some of the damage done was of their own doing. Still, both Boyd and Norris have the potential to be average or even above-average starters, though for now that potential remains unrealized.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Royals sweep
    (17 votes)
  • 31%
    Royals take 2 of 3
    (60 votes)
  • 41%
    Tigers take 2 of 3
    (80 votes)
  • 18%
    Tigers sweep
    (36 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now