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Game XXXI: Royals v. Tigers

The Fighting Soler's are still looking for their first series win of the season

Peter G. Aiken

It is May 3 and the Royals have still yet to win a series in 2018. They are 0-7-2 in series' this season, with both of those splits coming against the Tigers. The Royals will have to take three of four from Detroit if they want to win their first series of the season and Eric Skoglund will be on the mound for this four-game set's maiden voyage.

Skoglund's short career has been bookended by his two best starts. We all remember his major league debut, where he gave up just two hits over 6.1 scoreless innings. He encored that by lasting just 4.2 innings over his next three starts, giving up 13 runs in the process.

2018 began in a slightly less horrific way, but still bad, with Skoglund giving up 14 runs in his first three starts. Dating back to his second career start and going through his first three of 2018, Skoglund had given up 33 earned runs in just 26.1 innings, good for a 11.28 ERA.

However, after waiting nearly a year to do so, Skoglund finally delivered his second strong start as a major leaguer last week. He went 7.0 innings for the first time in his career and gave up just one run on two hits over those innings. He struck out nine White Sox and got his second career win.

At this rate, his next solid start will come sometime in 2019, but hopefully he can buck that trend on School Day at the K.

On the other side of the ball, the Royals offense finally has a pulse. Since April 27, the Royals have scored at least four runs in six of their seven games, including at least five runs in four of their last five games. The league is averaging 4.5 runs per game, but hey, baby steps.

The recent "success" is largely the result Jorge Soler connecting a lot of dots at the plate. Since April 17, Soler has slashed .385/.515/.692, hiking his OPS up to .953 on the season. Soler is 10th in the AL in wRC+, 6th in BB%, and 5th in OBP. And don't look now, but Alex Gordon has an .857 OPS and 138 wRC+ since coming off the DL.

Here are your lineups for today's afternoon matchup. Soler will bat second for the fourth consecutive game while Gordon is back in centerfield. If you are looking for something fun to read this afternoon, take a few minutes to remember the worst School Day at the K ever.