Probable pitchers and starting lineups, KC Royals vs. Detroit, April 26

Salvador Perez, his hot bat, and Kansas City go after the Tigers.
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Salvador Perez, the wonderfully effervescent KC Royals catcher whose name is starting to creep into some Cooperstown conversations, is enjoying what has so far been one of the club's best starts ever and a fine season of his own. After going 1-for-2 in Kansas City's weather-shortened victory over Toronto Thursday afternoon (more on that in a moment), his .352 batting average is the American League's best, and only National Leaguers Mookie Betts, William Contreras, and Shohei Ohtani have been better.

That's grand company Perez is keeping, and he's also leading the AL in RBI with 25. There is little to criticize about his approach at the plate; he's striking out less, walking more, and looks more patient.

But Perez is also on a collision course with an unavoidable enemy. Sooner or later, and as all big league hitters do, he'll run headlong into a slump. He won't know how long it will last or how deeply it will cut, but it's coming.

For now, though, nothing in Perez's game suggests a slump is imminent. The two-run homer he hit in the first inning of Thursday's game was all the Royals needed for their 2-1 series-clinching win, and gave him a .429/.520/.667 line, two homers, and eight RBI for his club's six-game homestand. His season OBP is .410, his SLG .626.

No one knows just when his inevitable slump will arrive, but the Tigers must be hoping it's waiting for him at Detroit's Comerica Park, where they'll host the Royals for three games beginning this afternoon at 12:10 p.m. CDT. Even this early in the season, it's an important three days in the American League Central — at 16-10, second-place Kansas City trails first-place Cleveland by only 2.5 games, and the Tigers are just 1.5 games behind KC.

What do fans need to know about today's opener?

Who's starting on the mound for the Royals and Tigers?

Seth Lugo, whose 2.03 ERA is the best among Kansas City's starters, goes after his fourth win of the year; he's 3-0 and only his last outing, when he gave Baltimore four runs in 5.1 innings, left much to be desired. He pitched seven scoreless innings against the White Sox the start before that, six scoreless frames against Minnesota March 30, and boasts four quality starts.

Lugo's trio of wins have him tied with Alec Marsh, who unfortunately went on the Inured List Thursday, for the team lead.

Detroit manager A.J. Hinch's choice to face Lugo and the Royals is second-year righty Reese Olson, who's 0-3 with a 3.80 ERA after four starts. He held the Mets scoreless for 5.2 innings in his first outing, but Pittsburgh, Texas and Minnesota combined to punish him with 11 runs in 17.2 innings over his next three starts.

Olson went 0-0, 3.09 in two games against the Royals last season.

What does Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro's lineup look like?

Here's the KC skipper's lineup:

How is Detroit lining up this afternoon?

These Tigers are starting against the Royals:

Where can fans find today's game?

Bally Sports Kansas City has the KC area telecast. MLBN also has the contest on an out-of-market basis. Streaming information is in our guide to following the Royals, and the contest can be heard on KCSP-AM 610 Sports Radio and the Royals Radio Network.

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