Tonight, the "Second Half" begins in earnest as the Tigers take their show on the road to Kansas City to face a Royals team that at least one writer with a fairly subjective opinion believes underachieved for the first half. However, when you step back and look at the numbers, you can see that things may not be as easy as they seem.
Despite the LOLworthiness of trading a young pup that almost everyone believed was a can't miss prospect for a pitcher with only two years left on his contract, James Shields has been terrifically solid. His 3.21 ERA is lower than every Tiger starter aside from Blue-Eyed Max, and he can basically be penciled in for 7 IP, 6 H, and 2 R before the game starts. Combine that with Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and a solid bullpen, and this weekend could be a frustrating, TTBDNS-fest. Fortunately, they can't hit a lick, so hopefully Verlander and co. will shut the already quiet bats down and win a few 3-2 pitchers duels.
As for the beer...we've had to venture a bit to the west since, aside from the fantastic Boulevard Brewing Company, it's slim pickings in the metro area. Fortunately, a college town within driving distance has some great stuff to offer. I present to you the fantastic Ad Astra Ale from Free State Brewing Company.
We start off with a nice, easy drinking, yet still flavorful amber. The Ad Astra (based on the Kansas state motto "Ad Astra per Aspera" which probably means "No, seriously, you can drink more than 3.2 beer now here!" or "To the stars through difficulties" or something) uses three different malts to create a distinct amber color as well as Northern Brewer hops to counter balance with a lovely floral pine aroma. The malt creates a great toasted flavor, and the citrus finish comes off at the end as a great accent without overpowering your taste buds. At 5.6% ABV and 30 IBUs, this is a great beer to go with some barbecued chicken and cole slaw while struggling through another weekend of pitchers duels.
Free State Brewing Company is located in Lawrence, KS.