The Kansas City Royals are trying to stay in the American League wild card race, and a series at the fading Detroit Tigers should help them along. The Royals will try to stay in the race at the expense of the Tigers when they visit Detroit for the start of a three-game series on Monday.
Detroit raised the white flag on the season last week by trading away Justin Verlander and Justin Upton and then dropped four in a row to the Cleveland Indians at home by a combined 29-5. “(Miguel Cabrera’s) out. Victor’s (Martinez) out. We traded Upton,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters after suffering an 11-1 loss on Sunday. “We’ve got a bunch of young guys without a lot of experience, and we’re playing against one of the best teams in baseball and facing some of the best pitchers in baseball. So am I disappointed? Absolutely not. The effort was there.” The Royals took two of three from Minnesota over the weekend but still sits 3 1/2 games behind the Twins in the race for the second AL wild card, with four teams in between. Kansas City hosts Minnesota in a four-game series next weekend and will try to avoid looking ahead when it sends Jake Junis to the mound on Monday opposite Detroit rookie Artie Lewicki.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN Detroit
PIITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Jakob Junis (6-2, 4.41 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Artie Lewicki (NA)
Junis has not lost since June 29 and was sharp against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, when he scattered one run and three hits over 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight. The 24-year-old rookie struck out 15 while walking one in 11 innings over his last two outings and issued a total of two walks in his last six appearances. Junis endured one of his worst starts at Detroit on June 29, when he was ripped for six runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings.
Lewicki is making his major-league debut after going 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA in five starts after moving up to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. The 25-year-old is 14-4 with a 3.38 ERA across two minor-league levels this season. Lewicki owns 303 strikeouts in 337 career minor-league innings.
1. Royals RHP Kelvin Herrera (forearm strain) is day-to-day.
2. Detroit C James McCann recorded multiple hits in three of his last five starts.
3. Kansas City OF Melky Cabrera is 6-for-11 with three extra-base hits in the last three games.
PREDICTION: Royals 6, Tigers 5