Tigers put four-game win streak on line vs. Royals
The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers got an extra 24-hour break prior to their three-game series this weekend.
Both teams had their games on Wednesday postponed by rain, then had scheduled days off on Thursday.
They’ll be back in action at Detroit on Friday.
The postponements — the Royals against Cleveland, the Tigers against the Chicago White Sox — will be made up Monday afternoon.
“It’s not ideal,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “But that’s part of being part of a game that’s influenced by weather.”
Kansas City took two of three games at Cleveland prior to the postponement. Salvador Perez made history on Monday with his 46th homer this season, breaking Johnny Bench’s single season record for most long balls by a primary catcher.
The Tigers are painfully aware how dangerous Perez is at the plate. He’s hit three homers off their pitchers this season and 26 in his career, second only to the 28 he’s hit against Minnesota.
Right-hander Carlos Hernandez (6-2, 3.90 ERA) will start the series opener for Kansas City. In his last outing on Sept. 15, he surrendered seven runs on nine hits in four innings to Oakland. That ended a string of strong starts in which he gave up just three earned runs in 24 2/3 innings.
“There have been a lot of days where all four pitches are right on, and [the start against the A’s] was not one of those days,” he said. “On these days, I have to go out and compete against myself and get it done.”
In two outings, including one start, against Detroit this season he’s given up five runs in 5 2/3 innings. He’s 0-1 overall in three games with two starts vs. the Tigers.
The Royals (69-83) lost 4-1 on Tuesday as Cleveland scored all of its runs in the first two innings.
“We need our starters to come out and… set the tempo, set the pace of the game and give us an opportunity to strike first,” Matheny said.
Kansas City leads the season series with Detroit 9-7.
The Tigers (74-78) carry a four-game winning streak into the contest. They delayed the White Sox’s division-clinching party with a pair of victories this week.
“Every day we go out thinking we are going to win, regardless of who we are playing,” said outfielder Victor Reyes, who had a pivotal two-run single among four hits in Tuesday’s 5-3 win.
The first two games of the streak came against American League East Division champion Tampa Bay. Manager AJ Hinch is pleased how his team “finds ways to win.”
“In order to do that, you can’t just turn it on and off,” Hinch said. “You have to be prepared for when the opportunities come up. I love that about our team, that we keep staying in there. The days that we can apply pressure because the opportunity comes up, we’ve practiced it, we’ve prepared for it. We have no fear.”
Right-hander Casey Mize (7-8, 3.64 ERA) will start on Friday but won’t be around long enough to qualify for a victory. He’s been placed under a three-inning limit for the remainder of the season by the Tigers organization.
Mize has already started five times against the Royals, going 2-1 with a 5.08 ERA in those outings. He did not face Kansas City last season.
–Field Level Media