The Detroit Tigers are coming to town this week, as the Royals have a chance to overtake first place in the Central. It’s the first matchup between the two, and could end up being a pivotal early series to start the month of May. The Royals are coming off a series win in Cleveland, so hopefully they can bring some momentum into the series.
The Royals won’t have Edinson Volquez, who chose to forgo an appeal to serve his five game suspension. Volquez would have started on Friday, but it will be Chris Young replacing him. We’ve only seen small outings from Young this year, but he’s fared decently well, with a 1-0 record and 1.86 ERA.
Alright, enough chatter, let’s break down the series.
Game 1: Duffy vs. Simon
The Royals have yet to lose a series opener, and it’s going to be tough to keep that streak alive in this one. Duffy still has just 1 win on the season, and a rather high ERA of 4.15. Duffy is struggling to get past 5 innings, and hasn’t yet found his stride. It’s still early in the season, but if we don’t see any improvement soon, that should bring considerable concern.
Alfredo Simon has been rock solid for the Tigers in April, nabbing the win in each of his 4 starts this year. He’s allowed 1 run or less in 3 of his four starts, and doesn’t walk many batters, either. I haven’t seen any film of him, but just going off stats alone I can say with a good amount of confidence that it’s a tough matchup for the Royals.
It is with much hesitancy that I say this, but I’ll stay optimistic and say the Royals win another series opener.
Prediction: Royals, 3-2
Game 2: Young vs. Lobstein
Like I said, we haven’t seen Chris Young very much this year. All of his appearances have been in relief, and the most innings he’s pitched in a game is a bleak 3. Even with this small sample size, the numbers are promising. Young was 12-9 last year with Seattle, and isn’t new to starting pitching. Still, he might be a little rusty in this one.
Kyle Lobstein is your typical middle of the rotation starter, and has had somewhat mixed results in three games this year. He’s sitting at a 3.50 ERA right now, and has allowed three runs in two of his three game, which bodes well for the Royals. Moises Sierra is the only Royal to ever face Lobster, so this should be an interesting game.
Chris Young may not be new to starting a game, but I think the rust needs to wear off before I have enough confidence in him.
Prediction: Tigers, 2-0
Game 3: Volquez vs. Price
Volquez will return to action on Saturday when his suspension ends. Basically, the rotation just got pushed back a day, and Young slid in there to take Volquez’s spot on Friday. So yeah. Volquez has been pleasantly surprising up to this point, and I hope it can continue. He’s the best pitcher in the rotation right now, and it’d be nice for him to have another quality outing against David Price.
Price was acquired by the Tigers in the offseason, and he hasn’t quite been able to get all cylinders running in 2015. He’s 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA, not very indicative of a #1 starter. The last time the Royals really faced Price was in 2012, and it wasn’t good. They managed a .111 BA, and struck out 8 times. Of course, Jeff Francoeur and Johnny Giavotella were still on the team back then.
Based on their current performances, I give Volquez the upper hand in this one.
Prediction: Royals, 4-1
Game 4: Vargas vs. Sanchez
Jason Vargas ins’t quite the same as he was last year. He’s 2-1 with 5.95 ERA, the worst of all Royals starters. One interesting stat of note is his ERA during day games, a whopping 12.00. The Tigers managed a .322 batting average against Vargas last year, in 118 AB, a decent sample size. Expect him to give up a moderate amount of runs in this one.
Aníbal Sanchez isn’t have the greatest start to the season. He’s 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA, and is averaging just 5.84 innings pitched per game. He does strike out batters often, so the Royals are going to have to capitalize when they get runners in scoring position. Unless Sanchez has a miracle outing, I expect his trend to continue.
This should be a high scoring affair, based on both pitchers trends thus far.
Prediction: Royals, 7-4
As I said earlier, this is going to be a pivotal series early in the season. Historically the Royals don’t perform well in May, but they have a chance to start it on a high note against a division foe. The Royals are really good this year, and the division series’ are going to be awesome to watch.