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Tigers Series Preview: These guys again?

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For the third time already, these two teams will match up.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals and Tigers were expected to be among the worst teams in American League this year. The Royals have lived up to that billing, but the Tigers have played surprisingly mediocre, with a 13-16 record going into this series. This will be the third series between these two teams already this year, and the Tigers are the only team the Royals don’t have a losing record against, having split the previous six games.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Thursday, May 3 - 1:15 PM CDT - Mike Fiers versus Eric Skoglund (L)
  • Friday, May 4 - 7:15 PM CDT - Francisco Liriano (L) versus Ian Kennedy
  • Saturday, May 5 - 3:15 PM CDT - Jordan Zimmerman versus Jason Hammel
  • Sunday, May 6 - 1:15 PM CDT - Matt Boyd (L) versus Jake Junis

Royals/Tigers pitching matchups

Thursday W-L ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR rWAR
Thursday W-L ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR rWAR
RHP Mike Fiers 2-2 3.91 4.76 23.0 5.87 1.57 1.57 0.2 0.1
LHP Eric Skoglund 1-2 6.23 4.59 21.2 7.89 2.49 1.25 0.2 -0.1
Friday W-L ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR rWAR
LHP Francisco Liriano 3-1 3.38 4.49 29.1 6.44 4.30 0.92 0.3 0.7
RHP Ian Kennedy 1-3 3.48 3.99 31.0 8.13 2.90 1.16 0.5 0.6
Saturday W-L ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR rWAR
RHP Jordan Zimmermann 1-0 5.81 4.26 26.1 9.23 2.05 1.71 0.5 -0.3
RHP Jason Hammel 0-3 4.91 4.17 36.2 4.66 2.95 0.74 0.4 0.2
Sunday W-L ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR rWAR
LHP Matthew Boyd 1-2 2.48 4.09 29.0 6.52 2.48 0.93 0.4 1.1
RHP Jake Junis 3-2 3.29 5.50 38.1 7.04 1.88 2.11 -0.1 1.1

This is like the fifty-sixth time the Royals have seen all these pitchers this year. Zimmerman’s peripherals actually suggest he’s been better than his ERA. Matt Boyd, Francisco Liriano, and Mike Fiers look to have been lucky thus far—ERA-FIP are -1.61, -1.11, and -0.85. The Royals get to miss Michael Fulmer again, which is always a nice draw, especially in a four-game series.

Detroit Tigers position players

Name PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Jeimer Candelario (S) 129 4 18 12 0 .287 .364 .513 .378 137 1.1 1.0
Miguel Cabrera 104 3 13 21 0 .326 .413 .528 .398 151 0.9 0.7
Leonys Martin (L) 114 4 18 13 1 .267 .325 .467 .342 113 0.7 0.4
JaCoby Jones 83 2 10 6 4 .280 .337 .467 .347 116 0.6 0.9
Nicholas Castellanos 128 2 15 18 0 .297 .352 .441 .341 112 0.5 0.3
James McCann 93 3 10 12 0 .259 .301 .412 .308 90 0.4 0.5
John Hicks 35 2 4 5 0 .219 .286 .469 .325 102 0.3 0.4
José Iglesias 107 0 10 7 4 .210 .245 .300 .240 45 0.2 0.1
Niko Goodrum (S) 55 1 4 4 4 .204 .291 .347 .285 75 -0.1 0.0
Dixon Machado 109 1 13 13 0 .200 .257 .310 .252 52 -0.2 -0.3
Victor Reyes (S) 17 0 6 0 1 .118 .118 .118 .104 -47 -0.3 -0.2
Victor Martinez (S) 102 2 5 13 0 .222 .294 .344 .279 71 -0.4 -0.3
Mikie Mahtook 35 0 3 1 0 .129 .200 .161 .156 -12 -0.5 -0.6

The Tigers’ position players are actually a middle of the road 17th in fWAR in baseball, worth 3.0 so far. Their 91 wRC+ puts them one spot ahead of the Royals at 22nd. Their defense (per both -3 DRS—Royals are -8—and 1.4 UZR—Royals are 0.4) looks to be better than the Royals’ defense. Cheslor gonna Cheslor? The Tigers clearly aren’t world-beaters, but Miguel Cabrera looks to have woken from a slumber.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against Detroit?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Royals sweep
    (6 votes)
  • 27%
    Royals take three of four
    (14 votes)
  • 49%
    Split
    (25 votes)
  • 7%
    Tigers take three of four
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Tigers sweep
    (2 votes)
51 votes total Vote Now