If only the Kansas City Royals could play all their games against the Milwaukee Brewers and not have to play the resurgent Detroit Tigers.
That sounds pretty strange, considering that the Royals are in last place in the American League Central and the Brewers sit atop the National League Central by a comfortable margin. However, the Royals just completed a two-game sweep in Milwaukee that gave Kansas City a 4-0 sweep of the teams’ season series.
The Royals now must turn their attention to the Tigers, winners of all seven of their games since the All-Star break. Kansas City owns a 6-7 record against Detroit this season.
“Doesn’t matter what the record says — where you are in the standings — you go out and you compete,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said after his team’s 6-3 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday. “When you can compete against some of the best when they’re throwing out their best, it says a lot about yourself as a team.
“This is a good (Milwaukee) team, they’ve been playing well, and fortunately, we were able to get the kind of starts and the timely hitting that we needed.”
Wily Peralta (3-1, 1.64 ERA) will get the start for the Tigers on Friday in the series opener. The former Royal was signed as a free agent in February. He allowed one or no earned runs in five of his six starts this year.
The Royals will send Kris Bubic (2-4, 5.03 ERA) to the mound.
The Tigers completed a four-game sweep of the visiting Texas Rangers on Thursday, building leads of 4-0 and 6-1 before hanging on for a 7-5 victory. Detroit is riding its first seven-game winning streak since 2016 after producing its first undefeated homestand of at least seven games since 2013.
The Rangers series marked the Tigers’ seventh sweep of the season after Detroit managed a total of six series sweeps over the three previous years combined.
“It’s still just about the next game,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said after Thursday’s victory. “It’s not about what we’ve already done here, not about a road trip in its entirety. We had a nice homestand. We’ll acknowledge that and we’ll get to Kansas City and get to the next game.”
Even so, the Detroit players feel as if things are starting to click.
“It felt (like) a bad taste in our mouth over the All-Star break,” starting pitcher Tyler Alexander said. “We had four days to simmer over it and think about how we can be a lot better. We’ve done a really good job thus far.”
The Tigers have built their winning streak on pitching. Over the seven games, the staff ERA is 1.50.
Bubic returns to a starting role Friday after his most recent appearance came in relief. He is one of six major league pitchers with at least eight starts and eight relief outings.
Bubic threw six innings out of the bullpen on July 16 against the Baltimore Orioles in his latest appearance, allowing one run on two hits. It was his third relief outing of at least five innings this year, the most in the majors.
With two starters (Danny Duffy and Brady Singer) going on the injured list Tuesday, the Royals have little choice but to try Bubic as a starter again.
Bubic owns a 2.96 ERA in eight relief appearances this season and a 6.34 ERA in his eight starts.
In three career appearances (two starts) against Detroit, Bubic is 0-0 with a 3.68 ERA. He has given up just two runs in 10 innings vs. the Tigers this year.
Peralta opposed the Royals for the first time in his career on June 15, when he tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.
–Field Level Media