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Tigers vs. Royals Preview: Oh hey it’s a random day game nobody asked for

Mike Fiers takes on Eric Skoglund in an early afternoon tilt at Kauffman Stadium.

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Do you like day baseball? Hey, I hear you. For those that are able to get to the game, or at least carve out time to watch it on TV, it’s a great experience. Sure, it might get a little hot during the dog days of summer, but there aren’t many things better than enjoying a ballgame in the sun.

But if you’re not able to cut away and see the game during working hours? It’s kind of a miserable experience. This is especially true for random day games scheduled at the start of a series, such as the Kansas City Royals have done today. This isn’t a slight on the Royals — the Tigers will do this at least once a year as well — but it’s still annoying, both for those trying to watch the game and your diligent BYB staff writing previews.

What are your thoughts? Are you pro-day game? Hit us up in the comments.

Detroit Tigers (13-16) at Kansas City Royals (8-22)

Time/Place: 2:15 p.m., Kauffman Stadium
SB Nation site: Royals Review
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Mike Fiers (2-2, 3.91 ERA) vs. LHP Eric Skoglund (1-2, 6.23 ERA)

Game 30 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Fiers 23.0 15.2 4.0 4.76 0.2
Skoglund 21.2 20.7 6.5 4.59 0.2

The Tigers faced Eric Skoglund in late April, an 8-5 loss where neither starter fared too well. While he gave up four runs in five innings, Skoglund’s ERA still dropped after that outing after a pair of awful starts to open the year. He finally tossed his first quality start of 2018 on April 28, striking out nine in seven strong innings against the Chicago White Sox. It was a career-high strikeout total, and the second time he has fanned at least six batters in a start this year.

While it seems Skoglund is developing somewhat of a strikeout touch, these couple starts might be somewhat of a mirage. He has generated just a 7.6 percent swinging strike rate so far this year, and hovered around a 20 percent strikeout rate throughout his time in the minors. He has been a bit more aggressive with his off-speed pitches when ahead in the count, but they aren’t the type of offerings that will generate plenty of whiffs with two strikes.

Key matchup: Jorge Soler vs. a complete 180 from last season

Remember how bad Jorge Soler was in 2017? You might not, because he only totaled 110 plate appearances in 35 games before injuries and a general inability to hit the baseball landed him in the minors.

This year, a renewed focus on patience at the plate has Soler sitting among the best hitters in the game.

The Kansas City Royals are celebrating their 50th season this year. In those combined 50 seasons, there have been 764 individual players with at least 90 plate appearances, including Soler this year. After walking last night against the Boston Red Sox, Soler’s walk rate of 18.2% is fourth all-time among Royals...And from a pure numbers game, Soler is on pace for a truly astounding number of walks. His 18 walks through 28 games translates to a 104-walk pace, and nobody has intentionally walked him yet. If he gets there, 104 non-intentional walks would rank fourth all-time in Royals history.

Walks aren’t the only story, though. Soler is hitting .315 and has 12 extra base hits in 110 plate appearances, nearly doubling last season’s total already. He might not continue to hit as well as J.D. Martinez, but it’s a welcome sight for Royals fans who might have written him off after a disastrous 2017 season.


The Tigers make it three wins in a row.

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