It’s pretty rare that a team would play a five-game series, and even rarer that it comes against a chief rival in a playoff race; but that is what the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals will be facing over the next four days.
Both teams caught fire out of the All-Star break and managed to gather a long winning streak that boosted their records, but now both teams have hit a little rut and need to find themselves quickly if they want to keep moving forward.
The Royals have been a thorn in the Tigers’ side for years, even going back all the way to 2006 when they swept the Tigers on the road to prevent them from winning the AL Central. Fast forward to this year, and the Royals are still like that gnat Detroit just can’t get rid of, posting a 5-3 record against them this year.
The Royals are a long shot to win the division, but they still have a chance and that needs to be respected.
For the Tigers, a sweep would be a magical closing of the division, but realistically they are going to make sure they can grind out 3-4 wins and keep chugging along until they finally hit the easy part of their schedule. The Tigers have put themselves in a position where just staying level should be enough, and it is the Royals who will need to do the extraordinary to catch them.
We have seen extraordinary before. Let’s hope that 2006 is long gone.