Tonight is the beginning of the end for the Kansas City Royals (71-88) who return to the K for their last series of the season. The opponent will be the Detroit Tigers (86-73) who can clinch the AL Central with a win or White Sox loss.
We took a couple minutes to catch-up with Matt Snyder who is the co-editor over at Motor City Bengals.
Kings of Kauffman – With how everything has played out this season how does it feel knowing Detroit could be the first AL team to clinch a playoff spot?
Matt Snyder – That is a crazy thought, considering the roller coaster ride this team took us on, but I think it says more about the state of the American League Central than it does about the Tigers. In any other division, the Tigers’ playoff hopes would be dashed by now. But as we’ve seen in the past, all a team needs to do is get in the playoffs, and then anything can happen.
KOK – In your opinion what has it been for the Tigers to claw back and finally grab hold of a division many thought they’d have an easier time with?
MS – The first half of the season (primarily the month of May) didn’t go as the Tigers had planned, but they’ve played some pretty good baseball since then (they have a .574 win percentage since June 1). The defense has been shoddy, and the offense hasn’t been quite as potent as predicted, but their rotation has been dominant and the big fellas (Fielder and Cabrera) have provided enough pop to get the job done. I think the main difference between our expectations and what played out was the surprising resurgence of the Chicago White Sox. I don’t think anyone quite expected Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, and AJ Pierzynski to bounce back the way they did this season, and consequently no one really predicted them to make a serious run at the division. They were a big pain in the neck.
KOK – Kansas City did an alright job with Miguel Cabrera last week in Detroit but do you think he does what is needed to win the Triple Crown and is he the AL MVP (bias aside)?
MS – He has as good of a chance to win the Triple Crown as anyone could hope, though Joe Mauer is breathing down his neck for the batting title, and Josh Hamilton is tied with him on the home run leader board. I’m obviously pulling for him to win the Triple Crown for historical reasons, but I don’t think he should win the MVP even if he accomplishes that feat. Cabrera has had a fantastic year — and he’s probably second in the AL if I had a vote — but I don’t think he holds a candle to what Mike Trout was able to do in Los Angeles if we consider all facets of the game.
KOK – Any concerns with this three-game series given that the Tigers were swept the last time they played the Royals at the K and that the teams have played several 1-2 run games?
MS – No concerns really. Although visions of 2006 still dance through the heads of many fans, the Tigers are in a great position. All it will take at this point is one win or one Chicago loss to clinch the division, so chances are strong the job will be done before the final day rolls around. Kansas City is one of those pesky teams that Detroit fans fear. We would like to take them to be automatic wins, but in reality the Royals seem to be a big thorn in the side, especially when it matters most.
Probable Starters this week (All Times Central) –
* = Since joining the Royals