Major League Baseball
Preview
Detroit at Kansas City
When: 8:15 PM ET, Monday, July 23, 2018
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City Royals didn't do much in order to feel good about themselves over the first half of the season, but a favorable slate immediately following the All-Star break has them enjoying the second half so far. After completing their first series sweep of the year versus one of the two American League teams against which they own a winning record, the Royals face the other on Monday, when they host the Detroit Tigers for the opener of their three-game series.

Kansas City (30-68) dropped 13 of 15 leading into the All-Star break to fall 41 games below .500, but the team with the second-worst record in the AL handled Minnesota over the weekend for its first sweep since taking three in a row at Detroit last July. Drew Butera provided the highlight in Sunday's 5-3 victory with a three-run, inside-the-park homer in the seventh inning that broke open a tie game and sent the Royals to their third straight home win after they lost 15 of their previous 16 at home. Kansas City is 6-4 this season against Detroit, which fell to 0-7-2 over its last nine series after dropping the rubber match of its three-game set versus Boston on Sunday. The Tigers were limited to one run in each of their two losses in the series and have been held to fewer than three in six of their last eight contests.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, FS Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers LH Francisco Liriano (3-5, 4.67 ERA) vs. Royals RH Heath Fillmyer (0-1, 3.45)

Liriano was removed from his last start on July 15 at Houston for precautionary reasons due to lower back tightness after yielding one run on one hit and three walks in three innings. The 34-year-old Dominican, who has posted an 8.74 ERA in three turns this month, hasn't recorded a victory since April 28 or worked more than six frames since May 20. Salvador Perez is 4-for-12 with a double and a homer against Liriano, who is 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts versus Kansas City the season.

Fillmyer will draw his second major-league start after appearing in relief on July 13, when he permitted one run in 2 1/3 innings versus the Chicago White Sox. The 24-year-old native of New Jersey took the loss against Boston in his first career start five days earlier after giving up four runs - three earned - on eight hits and three walks over 4 1/3 frames. Fillmyer is holding left-handed hitters to a .167 average (.370 against right-handers) but has more walks (eight) than strikeouts (seven) through his first 15 2/3 big-league innings.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Royals acquired OF Brian Goodwin from Washington on Sunday for RHP Jacob Condra-Bogan.

2. Detroit SS Jose Iglesias has collected 37 RBIs from the eighth spot in the batting order this season, 12 more than any other player.

3. Butera's inside-the-park home run was the first by a Royals catcher since Brent Mayne on Sept. 22, 1991.

PREDICTION: Royals 4, Tigers 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Detroit 42-59 L1 26-25 16-34 13-15 18-20 10-15 1-9
Kansas City 30-68 W3 14-35 16-33 3-15 17-21 7-26 3-6
Last Meeting
Detroit Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
5/6/18 DET 2 KC 4 .278 1 .705 .250 0 .588
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Detroit N. Castellanos .385 15 1.144
Kansas City A. Escobar .303 10 .785
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Detroit N. Castellanos 2 6 9
Kansas City M. Moustakas 2 5 8
Pitching ERA Avg K
Detroit 3.58 .272 58
Kansas City 4.08 .234 65
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Detroit N. Castellanos .304 118 .870
Kansas City W. Merrifield .302 111 .795
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Detroit N. Castellanos 15 54 56
Kansas City M. Moustakas 19 44 58
Pitching ERA Avg K
Detroit 4.40 .243 752
Kansas City 5.33 .238 693