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Game Ninety-Seven: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

The Royals could secure at least a split

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

You know the drill. It’s a division rivalry. Does that really still exist in this sport? Do you consider Royals-Tigers a rivalry? How long is it until divisions cease to matter in any meaningful way like in the NBA? Personally, I’m in favor of the model as I don’t believe any AL Central team (and perhaps NL Central team) deserve a postseason spot this year. Whichever team comes out of this tire fire of a division, they are not playing at Kauffman Stadium tonight.

Everybody’s favorite free agent signing will start tonight with Ryan Yarbrough taking the hill. Yarbrough has made just one start since recovering from that scary head injury. That start came on July 9 and it was his best start in almost a year, throwing six innings of one-run ball against a hapless Cleveland lineup. Yarbrough has been quietly effective since joining the rotation with a 3.72 ERA in four starts, though with that long injury absence in the middle. He has not faced Detroit since September 2021, when he allowed four runs in six innings.

Opposite Yarbrough will be Detroit staff ace Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez has bounced back from a poor first season in Detroit with what is in many respects the best season of his career. He currently boasts career best marks in ERA, xERA, FIP, BB%, and HR/9. Given his effectiveness this season and the opt-out clause in his contract for this offseason, Rodriguez will almost certainly be traded at the deadline as contending teams look to fortify their rotations for the stretch run. He pitched against Kansas City on May 23, giving up four runs (two earned) in five innings while striking out nine.

The Royals lost a heartbreaker on Monday before winning a shootout on Tuesday. Let’s make it two straight (we still haven’t had a three-game winning streak).

First pitch: 7:10 pm CDT

Royals lineup

Tigers lineup