Detroit Tigers (4-4) vs. Kansas City Royals (2-5)
When: 4:10 p.m. Saturday.
Or: Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Radios affiliated with the Tigers).
Weather forecast: Cloudy and 56 degrees.
Probable launchers: Tigers RHP Matt Manning (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Royals LHP Kris Bubic (0-1, 67.50).
Composition of the Tigers: To confirm.
FRIDAY VICTORY:Torkelson’s 2-point outburst gives Detroit Tigers 2-1 win
Game Notes: After two narrow wins at Kansas City on Thursday and Friday night to get back to .500, the Tigers will face their would-be kryptonite: left-handed pitcher, as the Royals send 24-year-old Kris Bubic to the mound.
Bubic will be looking to redeem himself after being lit by the Cleveland Guardians for five runs in two-thirds innings on Sunday. Stanford’s 2018 first-round pick — hey, maybe he and Tigers manager AJ Hinch can sing the Cardinal’s fight song before the game — got Cleveland’s first three hitters to base, and five of seven before he was out with two outs and the bases loaded. In his defense, he didn’t give up on the crushing explosion at Kauffman Stadium; it would be reliever Taylor Clarke who ceded a Grand Slam tournament to Oscar Mercado, with six homers in 72 games last season.
The Tigers’ roster has had a slight left slant of late, though they’re hoping to get some help with the return of shortstop Javier Báez, who missed three games with a stuck thumb aggravated during of Tuesday’s loss to the Boston Red Sox. Báez only has three plate appearances against Bubic, going 1 for 3 with an RBI and – remember, it’s “The Javy Way – a strikeout in August 2020.
Hinch is also likely to look to Westland’s Eric Haase and Dearborn Divine Child to neutralize Bubic’s peloton advantage, whether in the outfield or at receiver. Haase crushed left-handers last season with a .283/.315/.592 slant line, though he’s at .143/.143/.143 — that would be one hit in seven plate appearances — against the lefties this season. His career numbers against Bubic aren’t much better, with two singles and five strikeouts in 11 plate appearances in four games against Bubic in 2021.
The Tigers, meanwhile, will start right-hander Matt Manning, who is off to 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, JD 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 a Miggy guy doubled again Friday night to get under five 3,000 hits for his career. So he’ll be called up for this one, and for Sunday’s game, when those two teams meet at 2:10 p.m. before parting ways — the Tigers are heading back to Detroit to prepare for a Tuesday opener against the Yankees of New York, and the Royals at home to prepare for a visit from the Minnesota Twins, also on Tuesday.
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