Detroit Tigers (29-45) vs. Kansas City Royals (27-47)
When: 7:10 p.m. Friday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
First-pitch forecast: Low 80s, 40% chance of thunderstorms.
Probable pitchers: Tigers TBA vs. Royals RHP Brad Keller (2-9, 4.56 ERA)
Tigers lineup: TBA.
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Game notes: The Tigers took two out of three from the Royals the last time the two franchises met, April 14-16 with a fourth game rained out in K.C., but you could argue it was the costliest series of 2022 for the Tigers. Casey Mize started the first game and allowed two runs over five innings; he went on the injured list the next day and was eventually diagnosed as needing season-ending (and 2023-canceling) Tommy John surgery. Fellow righty Matt Manning started two days later and lasted just two innings before leaving with “shoulder discomfort.” He has yet to return to the mound for the Tigers, suffering another injury during his rehab.
Tonight brings a rematch with the Royals starter for the second game of that series; Keller arguably did enough to win, allowing just two runs over seven innings. But timing is everything, and two of the three hits Keller allowed came in a span of three batters in the seventh inning: Miguel Cabrera doubled with one out, Akil Baddoo popped out and Spencer Torkelson homered to left field for the Tigers’ only runs.
That win brought the Tigers to 4-4; it’s the last time they were at .500 this season, going 25-41 since. Likewise, Keller has seen his ERA soar since, going from 1.38 following that loss to 4.56 after his ninth loss of the season, a 9-7 stinker against the similarly putrid Athletics on Saturday. The Tigers’ track record against Keller is mixed: On one side, there’s Cabrera, who’s 8-for-20 with two doubles, and on the other, there;s Victory Reyes, who’s 2-for-20 with two strikeouts. Somewhere in the middle is Willi Castro, at 2-for-7 with a homer the last time he faced Keller.
After Friday’s game, the Tigers and Royals continue the series with a pair of day games, starting at 4:10 p.m. Saturday and finishing at 12:05 p.m. Sunday. The Tigers then continue their 19-games-in-17-days grind with a series at Comerica Park against the Cleveland Guardians, while the Royals will head to Houston for a four-game set against the Astros.
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