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Tigers vs. Royals Preview: Is it too early to start looking at MLB draft position?

The last place Tigers are currently in line for the No. 2 overall pick in 2020.

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Boston Red Sox v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

As I said before his last start, I don’t have much to add about Jordan Zimmermann at this point. He rewarded that faith by giving up seven runs on 13 hits against the Boston Red Sox, so we’re going to talk about something else.

Back in May, we identified the Tigers’ 13 remaining games against the Royals as a key factor in determining where each team would land on the pecking order for the 2020 MLB draft. The Royals had the No. 2 overall pick in 2019, while the Tigers took Riley Greene at No. 5 overall.

The tables might be turning this season. Detroit has lost four of five against the Royals since we unofficially kicked off the race for Spencer Torkelson, and are now “ahead” of Kansas City for the second overall pick in next year’s draft. The Tigers are even tied with the lowly Baltimore Orioles on wins, but Baltimore holds the edge for the top overall pick by five losses.

Detroit Tigers (28-59) at Kansas City Royals (32-61)

Time/Place: 2:15 p.m., Kauffman Stadium
SB Nation site: Royals Review
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, fuboTV, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-6, 6.29 ERA) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (7-6, 4.80 ERA)

Game 90 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Carpenter 37.2 14.0 6.7 6.80 -0.3
Plesac 45.0 18.2 9.4 5.61 0.0

At this point, Homer Bailey is the pitcher that Tigers fans wish Jordan Zimmermann could be. The 33-year-old Bailey has been a solid innings eater, working at least five frames in 13 of his 18 starts for the Royals this year. He has had a few rough outings here and there, but generally has kept his team in games. He has a 3.49 ERA since June 1, and is inching toward Rick Porcello territory with a couple of bad outings that have marred his season-long results.

Like many pitchers, Bailey has looked very good against the Tigers. He has given up just two runs on nine hits in 12 innings, and has a pair of wins over them already. He “only” has 10 strikeouts in those 12 frames — that 19 percent strikeout rate is well below their league-worst 26 percent clip — but the Tigers have hardly threatened him in either of their two previous meetings.

Key matchup: Tigers offense vs. scoring runs

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Prediction

Bailey shuts the Tigers down again and Kansas City sweeps the series.