Aug 4, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) and third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) high five after the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve been obsessed with my hometown Royals since 1969. But still I take no great joy in reporting on the precipitous slide of the once-mighty Detroit Tigers (who are loved by family as I love KC) baseball franchise – even though they’re a key rival. Yet events on and off the field Tuesday evening in Motown — a likewise once-mighty gem of a city that used to be the wealthiest in the nation — make that fact painfully obvious to even a casual observer.
The news for Tigers (51-55) fans before the game? GM Dave Dombrowski, the architect of many dominant major league baseball teams (remember what a meat-grinder that place used to be?) in Detroit and elsewhere, has been fired after 14 years with the team.
That move could be duh-rectly related to what transpired on the field after Dave and his undoubtedly heart-broken son abruptly departed Comerica for the final time (at least for a while you’d assume), where former ace Justin Verlander (1-4 / 5.05 ERA) got shellacked by Royals hitters for ten hits (three for extra-bases) and five runs in seven innings of work.
Verlander was signed under Dombrowski’s watch to a contract that guarantees him $28M a year for at least four more years. But he’s a shell of his former self at this point, even though I wouldn’t bet against Justin figuring out how to be successful starter again at some point soon. Regardless, he’s a lock to grossly under-perform that guaranteed contract.
Meanwhile, Danny Duffy (5-5 / 4.04) pitched well, in spite of allowing four free passes. He kept his composure under pressure, as he should with a big fat lead and Royals defenders flashing leather all around, allowing only one run on five hits through seven strong innings. Danny was very zen-like on the mound. Nice. Ryan Madson and Luke Hochevar finsihed them off without blemish.
Royals hitters feasted on JV and cruised to a 5-0 lead by the bottom of the sixth. Salvador Perez may be ready to bust out of a slump as he went 3-4 with a homer and three RBI. Omar Infante and Alex Rios both doubled (Rios is livin’ right). Ben Zobrist got another RBI. Red-hot Eric Hosmer was 2-4
It’s August 4th and the 63-42 Royals have a nine game lead in their division, while their strongest anticipated 2015 rival is presently in tatters. Dayton Moore has just traded for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, adding their substantial talents to the roster that already had the best record — and a fortuitous remaining schedule — in the American League. This is going to take some getting used to. But I think I can manage.