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Wednesday first 5 innings play (ytd 19-20)

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  • Wednesday first 5 innings play (ytd 19-20)

    Detroit/Kansas City over 5 -115:
    While the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals (77-80) flirted with a wildcard possibility until the very last week of the regular season, they as well as the Detroit Tigers (62-95) find themselves playing for pride now that the postseason looks virtually clear. Last night at Kauffman Stadium in the opener of a 3 game series, Jason Vargas went 6 strong and out dueled Anibal Sanchez as Kansas City edged Detroit 2-1. Vargas scattered just a run on 5 hits walking just one and striking out 3. Mike Minor pitched a scoreless 9th earning his 3rd save of the season. Whit Merrifield and Eric Hosmer each slapped RBI doubles which was all the offense the Royals needed against Sanchez (3-6) who only allowed 2 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings walking one and striking out 6. Ian Kinsler provided the only Tigers run with an RBI single as Detroit enjoyed a short lived 1-0 lead. The Tigers dropped their 8th straight and 15 of their last 17 overall falling into the AL Central basement while KC stopped a brief 2 game slide.

    KC sends Justin Hammel (8-13 5.32) to the hill this evening who has been crushed over his last 3 outings, all defeats at the hands of the White Sox twice and Cleveland in that span. The 35 year old 12 year right-hander has given up 18 earned over his last 12 2/3 innings (12.76) with 3 walks and 14 strikeouts. He’s allowed at least 4 runs or greater in 12 of his last 15 starts and has struggled all season with command and consistency. Hammel faces a Tigers lineup batting just .259 overall despite averaging 4.6 runs per contest with 185 HR ranking just 10th in the AL. Nicholas Castellanos (.271 25 96) continues to lead the club in power and production and has hit safely in 6 of his last 7 including a 4 game hitting streak. Of course becoming sellers after the ASB hurt their consistency and team efficiency by trading Alex Avila, Justin Upton and JD Martinez falling out of playoff contention extremely early. Kinsler (.238 22 52) also has hit in 4 straight and 6 of his last 7, and at 35 years old reaching 600 at bats he is vested for 2018 although Detroit could look to trade him in the offseason. Miguel Cabrera (.249 16 60) is dealing with 2 herniated discs in his back that have had quite an effect on his tailspin season among other injuries and inefficiency contributing. Jose Iglesias (.258 6 54) is just 6 for his last 28 (.214) and has had a rough September with Dixon Machado (.275 1 11) occasionally picking up some playing time in the interim. Victor Martinez (.255 10 47) struggled mightily in 2017 and put up far cried numbers from his 2014 and last season breakouts. Martinez underwent successful heart surgery and will look to groom himself to a clean bill of health for next season. Mikie Mahtook (.276 12 38) was one of the few bright spots that emerged in just his 3rd major league season but is suffering from a strained groin that will likely end his 2017 campaign.

    The Tigers counter with Jordan Zimmerman (8-13 6.19) who was just activated off the DL last week after suffering a neck injury. Zimmerman has dropped his last few decisions and has allowed 11 earned over his last 14 innings pitched (7.07). He faces a Royals lineup hitting just .260 overall averaging 4.4 runs per contest and just above Detroit with 188 HR. Hosmer (.320 24 92) leads the club in batting and RBI bringing into tonight’s action a 5 game hitting streak (.333). Mike Moustakas (.272 38 85) leads KC in HR while second in RBI overall despite playing through a knee injury. Salvador Perez (.268 27 80) has put up some solid career numbers but is likely to receive the night off as Drew Butera (.240 3 14) will take his place behind the plate. Lorenzo Cain (.302 15 49) has hit safely over his last 3 games (.400) and is second on the club in steals with 25 in 27 attempts (93%). Merrifield (.286 18 77) has proved to be one of the squad’s most versatile players as evident by his 33 steals in 39 attempts (85%) including last night’s game winning RBI. Brandon Moss (.211 22 50) is just 5 for his last 24 (.208) and has struck out 122 times in just 350 plate appearances.

    We get a fair price this evening in a venue that despite pleases the eye with spacious outfields and breathtaking waterfalls favors the pitcher. Kauffman Stadium despite it’s recent refurbishes is not kind to the hitters as the ball does not carry quite well especially at 412 to center field and 387 to the alleys. However with two struggling pitchers looking to find a bright spot a battle will almost surely be taking place for a rotation spot despite longevity and loyalty to their current ballclubs. We look to continue some positive momentum to try and get back to break even this evening hoping to end 2017 on a positive note as well as plenty more offense than last night’s unexpected pitcher’s dual. Best of luck however you play!