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Detroit Tigers series preview: They’re only pretty bad

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With both clubs decidedly removed from their respective flashes of dominance in the American League Central, the Detroit Tigers come to Kauffman Stadium to play what will likely be a sloppy, low-stakes series.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Monday, July 23 — 7:15 PM CDT — Francisco Liriano (L) versus Heath Fillmyer
  • Tuesday, July 24 — 7:15 PM CDT — Jordan Zimmermann versus Burch Smith
  • Wednesday, July 25 — 1:15 PM CDT — Matt Boyd (L) versus Danny Duffy (L)

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference

Tigers at Royals 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
Game 1
Francisco Liriano (L) 15 79.0 63 18.9 45 13.5 4.67 5.32 4.98 5.25 0.0 0.7
Heath Fillmyer 5 15.2 7 10.6 8 12.1 3.45 5.45 5.36 5.52 -0.1 0.2
Game 2
Jordan Zimmermann 12 63.0 61 23.6 11 4.3 3.71 3.40 4.00 3.77 1.6 0.8
Burch Smith 26 43.2 45 23.2 22 11.3 5.98 5.42 4.69 4.17 -0.4 -0.3
Game 3
Matt Boyd (L) 19 103.1 93 21.4 38 8.8 4.62 4.17 4.75 4.46 1.4 1.2
Danny Duffy (L) 21 120.2 107 20.2 56 10.6 4.40 4.90 5.00 4.81 0.4 1.4

Francisco Liriano and Matt Boyd both throw with their left hands. Boyd has been serviceable. Lirano has been less so, though there’s probably some value to his being able to have eaten 79 innings for a team that doesn’t really have much to play for this year.

When healthy this season, Jordan Zimmermann has been shockingly effective. After two disappointing seasons that followed the signing of a five-year, $110MM deal that looked like a huge sunk cost for Detroit, Zimmermann has rebounded to post his best FIP since his 5.3 fWAR 2014 campaign. He’s been increasingly reliant upon his slider at the expense mostly of throwing his four-seamer.

Detroit Tigers position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Nicholas Castellanos RF 420 15 54 56 1 0.304 0.357 0.513 0.371 135 2.4 2.1
Leonys Martin (L) CF 314 9 44 29 7 0.254 0.325 0.424 0.326 104 2.2 1.8
José Iglesias SS 354 3 30 38 12 0.27 0.31 0.385 0.303 88 2.1 1.3
Jeimer Candelario (S) 3B 366 14 46 37 1 0.23 0.325 0.435 0.33 107 2.0 1.4
Niko Goodrum (S) 2B 288 9 33 32 7 0.243 0.313 0.44 0.323 102 0.7 0.9
JaCoby Jones LF 331 7 35 22 8 0.207 0.264 0.362 0.272 67 0.5 1.5
John Hicks 1B/C 276 9 32 32 0 0.268 0.32 0.425 0.323 103 0.2 0.3
James McCann C 292 6 20 28 0 0.225 0.274 0.328 0.266 63 -0.1 0.1
Jim Adduci (L) 1B 28 1 4 3 0 0.192 0.25 0.308 0.248 51 -0.2 -0.2
Ronny Rodriguez IF 63 0 7 2 0 0.19 0.238 0.19 0.198 16 -0.5 -0.6
Victor Reyes (S) OF 99 0 17 7 5 0.224 0.232 0.286 0.224 34 -0.7 -0.5
Victor Martinez (S) DH 334 4 18 29 0 0.228 0.278 0.3 0.253 54 -1.9 -1.6

Playing without the services of Miguel Cabrera, whose ruptured biceps muscle put him on the disabled list for the remainder of the season, the Tigers’ position players have put up 6.0 fWAR, good for 26th-best—or more aptly fifth-worst—in baseball. They’ve slashed a meager .243/.301/.382 with a .297 wOBA and 85 wRC+. These marks are still better than the Royals, but that could serve as the dictionary exemplar of damning with faint praise.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Royals sweep
    (16 votes)
  • 35%
    Royals take two of three
    (43 votes)
  • 36%
    Tigers take two of three
    (44 votes)
  • 14%
    Tigers sweep
    (18 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now