Something’s got to give.
The Tigers pushed their American League Central lead to 5.5 games with a weekend sweep of the Cleveland Indians, while the Royals have won five in a row between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins.
The Royals pitching staff has been solid lately, allowing three runs or fewer in each of their last eight games.
The Tigers have dominated at home, going 22-10, but have struggled to replicate that success on the road. Their 13-16 road record has kept them from extending what could be a very big first-place lead, considering it’s still early June. The Royals will need to start taking advantage of Kauffman Stadium if they hope to cut into the Tigers’ division lead. They are an even .500 (15-15) at home.
The Tigers will send Doug Fister (5-3) to the hill to face Jeremy Guthrie (6-3) on Monday. Fister has been exceptional lately, but hasn’t gotten the wins to show for it. He is 0-2 in his last three starts despite throwing 21 consecutive scoreless innings. Guthrie will need to figure out a way to get around Prince Fielder if he hopes to have a chance at a win. Fielder has a mammoth .556 batting average and a 1.444 OPS against the Royals right-hander.
Max Scherzer will put his unbeaten record (8-0) on the line on Tuesday against Wade Davis (3-5), and Justin Verlander (8-4) will close out the series against James Shields (2-6) on Wednesday. Shields’ record is very misleading. 11 of 13 of his starts this year have been quality ones, but he has only received more than three runs of support five times.