Tough-luck pitchers square off as Royals host Tigers

MLB

Starting pitchers with a combined record of four games below .500 will match up as the Royals host the Detroit Tigers in the middle game of a three-game series in Kansas City Saturday.

Left-hander Matthew Boyd (2-4, 2.45 ERA) will get the nod for the Tigers. The Royals will send right-hander Brady Singer (1-3, 3.96) to the mound.

The Tigers defeated the Royals 7-5 in the opener Friday. Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, including his sixth career grand slam. The Tigers have now won nine of their past 11 games.

Boyd has been dominant against the Royals in two starts so far this season. He has allowed one earned run in 14 innings against the Royals, but he has yet to record a win. He gave up one earned run and took the loss in a 2-1 Royals win in Detroit April 24. In the more recent meeting on May 11, Boyd left with a 7-0 lead, but the Royals scored three in the eighth and four in the ninth to tie the score. The Tigers won 8-7.

Despite the sub-.500 record, Boyd is pleased with his season so far.

“Using all four of my pitches as compared to just two of them heavily,” Boyd said of his improvement from last season, when he finished with a 6.71 ERA. “Also using both sides of the plate, especially with my fastball. I think those are two things you could really pinpoint, but there are little differences, too, like getting ahead in the count at a pretty good clip. There are less pitches per at-bat.”

Tough luck has been a constant companion for Boyd this season. He’s allowed more than two earned runs only twice in eight starts, and he’s pitched at least 5 2/3 innings in all but one start. But he’s tied for the 10th-worst run support among MLB pitchers with at least six starts with 3.12 runs per game.

Interestingly, Singer has received exactly the same run support in his eight starts.

Singer hasn’t been as dominant as Boyd. He’s only pitched six or more innings in three of his eight starts. He’s had three straight no-decisions. In the May 11 loss to Detroit, only four of the seven runs he allowed were earned.

But he was much better in his most recent start Sunday in Chicago. He allowed two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. He walked just two and struck out seven.

“Brady came out and threw the ball about as good as we’ve seen,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “He gave us a chance.”

Singer was pleased with his effort, except for one pitch. He gave up a two-run home run to Adam Eaton in the fifth inning that gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead.

“I felt like I was locked in the whole entire time,” Singer said. “I felt like I was making every pitch that I wanted. Then one mistake cost me a lot.”

Singer has made more starts against the Tigers (five) in his brief career than he has any other team. He is 3-0 with a 2.54 ERA, including a 1-0 record in 2021. Similarly, Boyd has faced the Royals 24 times in his career, the most against any opponent. He’s 7-10 with a 5.43 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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