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Detroit Tigers series preview: Two games, one cup

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MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers come to Kauffman Stadium to face the Kansas City Royals in a two-game series that the baseball gods clearly deemed so likely to deserve being forgotten that they scheduled one of the two games on a Wednesday afternoon to absolve all but the most stalwart and masochistic of fans from the obligation of watching them. The Tigers are only 25 games under .500 coming into the intradivisional matchup with the Royals—’only’ is deserving of italicization in this instance because the Tigers ain’t got shit on the Royals and their 51 games under water. If you’re gonna suck, suck harder, chumps.

These two teams will be playing for a turned cup of shrimp cocktail found behind a toilet in the visitors’ locker room. It’s unclear whether the winner or loser gets the cup.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Tuesday, August 28 — 7:15 PM CDT — Matt Boyd (L) versus Jakob Junis
  • Wednesday, August 29 — 1:15 PM CDT — Michael Fulmer 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
Matt Boyd (L) 25 141.0 127 21.9 42 7.3 4.09 3.91 4.65 4.30 2.5 2.6
Jakob Junis 24 138.0 132 21.9 40 6.6 4.70 4.84 4.28 4.06 0.6 0.5
Game 2
Michael Fulmer 20 116.2 97 19.9 39 8.0 4.32 4.18 4.21 4.36 1.6 1.7
Danny Duffy (L) 26 148.1 135 20.4 66 10.0 4.85 4.68 4.90 4.71 1.0 0.9

Matt Boyd has been pretty solid and is on pace for a campaign placing him solidly in the slightly above-league-average basket of players. This has been his best season yet, with gains made in the K-BB% department. These gains have been fueled largely by his heavily increased reliance upon his suddenly fantastic slider, which he is throwing three times as often as he did last year. Michael Fulmer has suffered regression in the BABIP, HR/FB, and LOB% departments, bringing him back to the mean in areas where he was likely the beneficiary of a little too much good fortune. After being 14-18 percent better than average last year by ERA- or FIP-, Fulmer has fallen back to earth/average with 100 and 98 marks in those measures.

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
José Iglesias SS 458 5 42 48 15 .270 .312 .392 .306 90 2.6 2.1
Nicholas Castellanos RF 545 19 70 73 2 .294 .349 .495 .360 127 2.3 2.0
Jeimer Candelario (S) 3B 493 15 63 45 2 .228 .318 .405 .315 96 1.9 1.4
Niko Goodrum (S) 2B/OF 403 13 43 41 9 .229 .300 .419 .310 93 0.5 0.7
Jim Adduci (L) 1B 109 2 12 12 1 .282 .315 .408 .313 95 0.0 0.0
Grayson Greiner C 72 0 7 7 0 .226 .306 .290 .268 64 0.0 -0.1
James McCann C 376 7 26 33 0 .220 .269 .317 .258 57 -0.2 -0.4
Mike Gerber (L) CF 47 0 2 2 0 .095 .170 .119 .141 -23 -0.4 -0.7
Mikie Mahtook OF 161 4 13 14 2 .210 .286 .336 .272 67 -0.5 -0.4
Ronny Rodriguez IF 122 2 11 11 0 .211 .248 .298 .240 45 -0.7 -0.9
Victor Reyes (S) LF 175 0 24 8 8 .216 .234 .257 .216 28 -1.1 -1.0
Victor Martinez (S) DH 439 6 27 43 0 .250 .298 .339 .276 70 -1.6 -1.1

If one were to judge the Tigers position players solely by the many negative WAR contributors on their 25-man roster, he or she could come to the conclusion that they might not be that good. That conclusion would be correct. The Tigers are the second worst collection of bats-/glovemen in baseball, sausaged wursted worsted only by the Orioles. Their 5.6 total fWAR is 1.7 wins worse than the Royals. Not only is their offense bad—their 82 wRC+ is actually worse than the Royals 83 mark—but they also find themselves amongst the ten teams who have sported a negative value in the defensive component of fWAR. The only thing they don’t do poorly is run the bases, so at least they’ve got something.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Coffee
    (8 votes)
  • 39%
    Bourbon
    (32 votes)
  • 18%
    Eggs
    (15 votes)
  • 16%
    Death
    (13 votes)
  • 16%
    Taxes
    (13 votes)
81 votes total Vote Now