Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals: The Motown Showdown

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It’s been quite some time since the Kansas City Royals have found themselves in this position.  They are preparing themselves for a big four-game series in Detroit.  A real, honest-to-goodness, big-time series that the national baseball audience will be watching.

It’s only June, and we fans notoriously get way too high with each win and way too low after each loss.  To say this season has been a tad inconsistent is a bit of an understatement.  And to say this upcoming four-game series with Detroit is big is an even bigger understatement.

Yes, it’s only June.  Yes, the Royals will play another 90 games once this series is completed.  And yes, the Tigers have outscored the Royals 32-12 whilst winning the first five match-ups of the season.  But this is the biggest series they’ve had this year.

The Royals have a ton of momentum heading into the Motown Showdown.  Winners of seven in a row, eight of their last 10 and 12 of their last 16, the Royals are a freight train on a collision course with their nemesis… the big, bad Tigers.

Since May 29th, the Royals have gained five games on the Tigers and are now in 2nd place in the division and just a game and a half back.  Assuming the offense is more like the one we’ve seen over the past couple weeks, the Royals are going to push the Tigers.

If the Royals offense reverts back to the one that showed up the first two months of the season, they’ll likely fade away.

But for now, for this brief window of the season, this series as big as it gets for the Boys in Blue.  One could argue that the first 68 games haven’t meant a thing.  None of that matters anymore.  The season starts now.

There’s been so much drama and inconsistent play this year.  It’s time to forget all of that and focus on this series.  These four games.  Win this series and it’s a statement.  Win this series and the Tigers are served notice that this summer isn’t going to be as easy as they had planned.

Here’s a quick look at the Motown Showdown.

GAME ONE – VARGAS (6-2)  vs.  VERLANDER (6-6)
The Kansas City Royals’ offense has been scoring runs in bunches as of late.  Justin Verlander has given up 31 earned runs in his last 37 2/3 innings.  Baseball is baseball and nothing is predictable, but this actually seems like a good match-up for the Royals.

Jason Vargas has already faced the Tigers twice this season.  His first outing was brilliant.  His second (versus Verlander) was a train wreck.  So, this looks like it might be a game of bullpens.  Advantage: Royals

GAME TWO – VENTURA (4-5)  vs. SCHERZER (8-2)
This is absolutely must-see TV.  Yordano “Ace” Ventura is in his first big spot of the season.  Max Scherzer is the reigning Cy Young winner and the guy who’s sure to be the most sought after free agent this coming winter.  Pitching will most definitely be on display.  Both starting pitchers are hot.

Yordano Ventura has given up just three runs in his last two starts and Scherzer is coming off his first career complete-game shutout.  This will be the first time Tiger hitters have faced Ventura and his electric stuff.  For the Royals, Alex Gordon (.387) and Salvador Perez (.381) have had very good success against Scherzer in the past.  They could be the difference.  Advantage:  Royals

GAME THREE – GUTHRIE (3-6)  vs.  SMYLEY (3-5)
Game three features a pair of “number five” starters.  This one could see lots of runs scored.  There have been quite a few Tiger hitters that have have previous success against Jeremy Guthrie.  With Guthrie’s tendencies of giving up the long ball, this match-up doesn’t look too hot for the Royals.

That said, this could be a big offensive night for both teams.  A few Royals have had some success against Drew Smyley and this one could be a back-and-forth game.  Advantage:  Tigers

GAME FOUR – DUFFY (4-5)  vs.  SANCHEZ (3-2)
Another dandy of a pitching match-up.  Danny Duffy is coming off a career-high strikeouts on just 98 pitches.  He seems to be finding himself a bit as the season progresses.  He’s given up just three earned runs in his last 18 and 2/3 innings.

Anibal Sanchez has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his starts this season.  Behind Scherzer, Sanchez has been the Tigers’ most consistent starter this year.  Though lower scoring than the first game, this looks to be another battle of the bullpens.  Advantage:  Royals

Simply put, this is the biggest series the Royals have had in a very long time.  If they can continue their streak of solid baseball against the Tigers, this could end up being just the first of many big series the Royals play this season.

 It’s time for the Kansas City Royals  to take advantage of this opportunity and become a serious threat to the Tigers.

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