(Updated: ADDS Kansas City’s standing in the wild-card race in the third sentence)
The Kansas City Royals are trying to make a run at a wild card spot in the American League, and the Detroit Tigers are doing all they can to help. The Royals will try to clinch a series win and move closer in the wild card race when they visit the Tigers in the second of a three-game series on Tuesday.
Kansas City sits 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card and took two of three from the Twins over the weekend before skipping past Detroit 7-6 in Monday’s series opener. The Royals, who host the Twins in a four-game series beginning Thursday, are winners of four of their last six contests and are finally seeing some offense with an average of 4.7 runs in the last six games after getting shut out in four straight. The Tigers showed some fight with three runs in the ninth inning on Monday but are losers of five in a row and made no secret of the fact that they are in for a long rebuilding process by trading away Justin Verlander and Justin Upton last week. Kansas City will send Jason Vargas to the mound in Tuesday’s contest while Detroit counters with veteran Anibal Sanchez.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Jason Vargas (14-9, 3.87 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 6.95)
Vargas lost his last three starts and was ripped for five runs on seven hits over six innings by the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. The California native was one of the best pitchers in baseball before the All-Star Game with a 12-3 record and 2.62 ERA but is just 2-6 with a 6.80 ERA in nine starts since the break. Vargas’ first start after the break came against Detroit on July 17, and he was lit up for six runs on seven hits and four walks in just 2 2/3 innings.
Sanchez sat out the last two weeks on the disabled list with hamstring tightness and is hoping he comes back with better results than he showed in his last three starts. The Venezuela native was ripped for 17 runs on 23 hits - nine home runs - over 11 1/2 innings in those three outings. Sanchez was not much better in his last start against Kansas City on July 26, when he served up four runs on nine hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.
1. Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann will visit a specialist in Dallas after experiencing a flare up of neck pain.
2. Kansas City RHP Kelvin Herrera (forearm strain) was unavailable on Monday and is day-to-day.
3. Detroit SS Jose Iglesias is 10-for-18 over his last five games.
PREDICTION: Royals 8, Tigers 6