KANSAS CITY ROYALS (70-82)
at DETROIT TIGERS (80-72)
First pitch: Monday, 7:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Detroit -270, Kansas City +235, Total: 7½
One game back in the AL Central, the Tigers need to do work against the Kansas City Royals, with their four-game series beginning Monday night.
The Tigers enter this game in desperate need of a win after getting swept in a double-header by the lowly Twins on Sunday. Ace Justin Verlander will look to right the ship with a 2.74 ERA and 1.06 WHIP on the season. Though he was shelled in his last start against them, he historically dominates the Royals with a 14-2 career record, 2.76 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Luke Hochevar, however, has never been able to figure out the Tigers—in 11 career starts he is 4-5 with a 6.35 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. His numbers on the season—8-14 record, 5.40 ERA and 1.37 WHIP—are no more encouraging, neither are his three most recent starts, a span in which he has a 5.89 ERA. Even as super heavy favorites, take DETROIT in what has become nearly a must-win game for them.
This three-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Tigers:
Play On - Any team (DETROIT) - revenging a 3-game sweep at the hands of their opponents, off a loss to a division rival as a favorite. (39-16 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.9%, +28 units. Rating = 3*).
When Verlander pitched against the Royals August 28, he had possibly his worst start of the season, allowing 12 hits and eight earned runs in 5.2 innings. But his impressive career numbers given such a rough start only speaks to his historical dominance of the Royals. The Tigers are 16-6 in his 22 career starts against them. Although Detroit has lost three of its past four contests, this game is critical. And averaging 7.6 innings per start at home, Verlander doesn’t make much use of his bullpen, but he’ll find solid support back there if needed, with his relievers sporting a 3.30 home ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
Hochevar may need the bullpen more given the way he’s been battered around lately and his paltry 5.8 innings per start on the season. The good news is Kansas City relievers have a 2.99 ERA and 1.30 WHIP and a 2.72 ERA on the road. The Royals also enter this game hot, having won four of their past five. They held their opponents, Chicago and Cleveland, to three runs or less in four of those five games, but the Indians put the Royals in their place Sunday night with a 15-4 win.