Royals Sweep Drops Tigers to 3 Games Behind in Central
All in all, it was a three-day period that the Tigers would love to forget. It was the first three-game sweep of the Tigers since a series against the Indians in late May and it came at less-than-ideal time in the season as the Tigers are currently trailing in both the AL Central and Wildcard races by small margins.
On Tuesday, Justin Verlander had his worst start of the season by far, giving up 12 hits, 3 walks, and 8 earned runs over 5 and two-thirds. It was the first time this season Verlander allowed over 5 earned runs and the second time he allowed double-digit hits.
On Wednesday, Bruce Chen took the mound for the Royals with his 5-plus ERA and just absolutely shut down the Tigers lineup, allowing only 5 men to reach base over 8 shutout innings. The Tigers meanwhile got their best start so far from newly acquired Anibal Sanchez, but the effort went to waste, losing 1-0.
Then on Thursday, the Tigers bats came out but just couldn’t deliver when they needed it. The team put up 10 hits off Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie in 7 and a third, but could only bring home one run. For the entire game, the Tigers tallied 12 hits and a walk, leaving 11 men on base, yes 11.
Whatever wasn’t clicking for the Tigers these past three days needs to quickly turn around as the team has their biggest series of the season so far beginning today. The Tigers return home for a three-game series against the first-place White Sox. A Tigers sweep would even up the Central while a White Sox sweep would send the Tigers to a devastating 6 games back with only about 30 to play. Translation: it’s a big freakin’ series.
The White Sox come in with a sad streak of their own, dropping 3 out of 4 to Baltimore in their last series, the lone reason why the Tigers aren’t further back in the Central. Jake Peavy and Doug Fister will face off in an intriguing matchup tonight, followed by Francisco Liriano and Max Scherzer on Saturday and then the marquee duel in the series closer with Chris Sale and Verlander, two of the AL’s top Cy Young candidates, going head to head.
After this series, the teams only play each other four more times, so a lot is riding on the next three days.