The Royals need just three wins in their remaining nine games to avoid losing 90 (or a 90-loss pace) since 2017. The 2021 Royals may not have been very good but they were significantly better than their recent predecessors. That’s nice to know. Here’s hoping 2022 sees even more improvement.
If it does, today’s starter may be a part of it. Jon Heasley will be making his second major-league start tonight as the Royals face off against the Tigers in Comerica Park, Detroit. Heasley’s first start was nothing to write home about - except for the history made by having five pitchers from the same draft class all start a game in the same year for the team that drafted them - but it also wasn’t the complete tire fire we saw from some other 2018 draftee debuts. The Tigers aren’t as good as the Mariners so maybe he’ll have an easier time of things.
According to FanGraphs, Heasley has an above-average fastball that sits 92-95 but can reach 97 and a high-quality changeup. He also wields a below-average slider. This all allegedly comes in a neat package with very poor command. Interestingly enough, he did not walk a single batter against Seattle. He also isn’t known for walking a ton of guys in the minors so I’m not sure where FanGraphs gets that from. MLB.com rated him as the Royals number 14 prospect and is much more bullish on his control.
The Tigers will counter with Tarik Skubal who has been pretty solid for the Tigers this year. Skubal has made two starts and one relief appearances against the Royals, tallying 10 runs allowed in only 13.2 innings. Skubal is a lefty so Ryan O’Hearn and Kyle Isbel each get the day off.