The basement of the American League Central has been on display in Kansas City this weekend. The Tigers and Royals, who have both tasted the top of the division in the last decade, are swimming with the fishes in 2019. Not much has changed from last season in that respect. The top has looked different, though, with the Twins and Indians in a role reversal of sorts. Minnesota hold a 6.5-game advantage over Cleveland as we head into Sunday.
It looked much bleaker for the Indians over a month ago, so they’ve been chipping away at the lead. Other than the Indians and Twins, there isn’t much to talk about in the AL Central. The White Sox are next in line, but they’re down by two touchdowns. If they could get to .500 by the end of the season, that’d be a nice win for them.
For the Tigers and Royals, it’s all about looking towards the future. For Royals’ fans, they still have that World Series in 2015 to hang their hat on. The Tigers, on the other hand, came up short several times with really good teams. If you look back, they had Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the prime of their careers, along with a healthy Miguel Cabrera in his prime at the plate.
Despite multiple individual awards, including a Triple Crown for Miggy, the Tigers have no World Series to show for it. It was all-in and the Tigers came up short for Mike Illich. The Tigers have been selling their mega contracts off, except Cabrera who they are stuck with. It’s always worth it if it results in a championship, but the Tigers are left at the moment with no World Series and a rebuilding process.
I can’t emphasize enough how good they are going to have it with Casey Mize in a few years, though. He is the top pitching prospect in baseball and for good reason. Jordan Zimmermann was acquired to be the ace of the club with the departure of Scherzer, but his contract has been a massive flop. When Homer Bailey has better numbers than Zimmermann, something is really wrong with that picture. Zimmermann and Bailey will face each other on Sunday in the series finale. Head below for our free Tigers vs. Royals pick.
Detroit Tigers vs. K.C. Royals Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
A friendly reminder that the Tigers signed Zimmermann to a five-year $110-million-dollar contract in 2015. He’s making an average of $22 million a season. Conversely, Homer Bailey is pitching for $550,000 this season. Bailey knows his role on the team as a rotation filler during this rebuilding process. Meanwhile, Zimmermann knew that the Tigers expected him to be the anchor of the rotation with that kind of money. It didn’t make much sense at the time, as the Tigers were in denial that their time as a contender wasn’t over. Nobody is going to take on his contract pitching like this, so it’s been a sizable loss for Detroit.
Despite the big money, Zimmermann has regressed since his time in Washington with the Nationals. He is pitching like a scrub with an ERA of 6.29 and 1.56 WHIP. None of that reflects his contract. Zimmermann has yet to record a win in ten starts. He heads into Sunday with a 6.91 ERA with a 2.02 WHIP and .417 OBA in his previous three outings. His effort against the Red Sox was rough, as he got wrecked for 13 hits and 7 runs in 3.1 innings in his latest outing. It’s been since 2015 that Zimmermann was consistently good, which was his last season as a National.
All things considered, Bailey is pitching well given his job on the Royals. I don’t know too many pitchers in the majors where you can say an ERA of 4.80 is decent, but Bailey is on pace for his first season with an ERA below 5.00 since 2014 with the Reds. He somehow attracted a team to give him another shot, and the Royals were willing to bring him on board for cheap.
Bailey carries an ERA of 4.70 and 1.50 WHIP in his previous three contests. The bullpen has been on par with him, as they have a 4.79 ERA for 23rd in the majors. Detroit’s relievers are 27th with a 5.00 ERA. As a collective unit, the Tigers’ pitching staff have allowed an average of 7.7 runs per game in their last seven games, so it’s been good for no one lately. Look for both offenses to have ample chances to score Sunday. Consider the OVER, with the final score likely to get into double digits.