Detroit Tigers (4-4) vs. Kansas City Royals (2-5)
When: 4:10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
Weather forecast: Cloudy and 56 degrees.
Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Matt Manning (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Royals LHP Kris Bubic (0-1, 67.50).
Tigers lineup: TBA.
FRIDAY’S VICTORY: Torkelson’s 2-run blast gives Detroit Tigers a 2-1 win
Game notes: After two tight wins in Kansas City on Thursday and Friday night to get back to .500, the Tigers will face their purported kryptonite: Left-handed pitching, as the Royals send 24-year-old Kris Bubic to the mound.
Bubic will be looking for some redemption after getting lit up by the Cleveland Guardians for five runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. The 2018 first-round pick out of Stanford — hey, maybe he and Tigers manager A.J. Hinch can sing the Cardinal’s fight song before the game — allowed the first three Cleveland batters to reach base, and five of seven before he was pulled with two outs and the bases loaded. In his defense, he didn’t give up the crushing blast in Kauffman Stadium; that would be reliever Taylor Clarke who surrendered a grand slam to Oscar Mercado, with all of six homers in 72 games last season.
The Tigers’ lineup has had a slight lefty lean of late, though they’re hoping to get some help there with the return of shortstop Javier Báez, who has missed three games with a jammed thumb reaggravated in Tuesday’s loss to the Boston Red Sox. Báezhas just three plate appearances against Bubic, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and — remember, it’s “The Javy Way — a strikeout back in August 2020.
Hinch is also likely to turn to Westland and Dearborn Divine Child’s own Eric Haase to neutralize Bubic’s platoon advantage, whether it’s in the outfield or at catcher. Haase crushed lefties last season with a .283/.315/.592 slash line, though he’s at .143/.143/.143 — that would be one hit in seven plate appearances — against southpaws this season. His career numbers against Bubic aren’t much better, with two singles and five strikeouts in 11 plate appearances over four games against Bubic in 2021.
The Tigers, meanwhile, will be starting right-hander Matt Manning, coming off arguably the best start of his 19-game career. The 24-year-old (who was taken in the first round in 2016 by the Tigers) shut down the Red Sox on Monday, allowing just one hit, one earned run (hello again, J.D. Martinez home run) and no walks over six innings. He didn’t get the win, but the Tigers did, thanks to Baez’s two-run homer.
Oh, and some Miggy dude doubled again on Friday night to get within five hits of 3,000 for his career. So he’ll be dialed in for this one, and for Sunday’s game, when these two teams meet at 2:10 p.m. before going their separate ways — the Tigers back to Detroit to prepare for a Tuesday opener against the New York Yankees, and the Royals to their homes to prep for a visit from the Minnesota Twins, also on Tuesday.
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