|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, August 9, 2019
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan Attendance: 21,475
Unlike the NBA and NFL, the notion of tanking is a hard one to fathom when it comes to Major League Baseball.
With the uncertainty of the draft (even at the very top of it), September call-ups playing hard in an attempt to impress for the following season, and veterans knowing their jobs for next season could be on the line, even the worst teams in the majors will rarely -- if ever -- ease off the throttle as summer enters fall.
So when the Kansas City Royals (-1.5) and Detroit Tigers square off for the second game of a four-game series Friday night in the Motor City, what two of the three worst teams in baseball lack in wins, expect them to make up for in effort. And to understand that juxtaposition, one need look no further than the starting pitchers.
Brad Keller will get the ball for Kansas City. He's 7-11 with a 3.95 ERA in 24 starts. However, the 24-year-old gave up only two runs and five hits in seven innings in his last outing (a 3-0 loss at Minnesota last Sunday), and the Royals are 5-2 in his last seven starts. In his last six starts, Keller is 3-2 with a 2.20 ERA, giving up just 36 hits in 41 innings.
The Tigers, on the other hand, are turning to the epitome of a veteran journeyman. The team announced Thursday night they will select Edwin Jackson's contract from Triple-A Toledo on Friday and start him against Kansas City. Jackson, who was signed to a minor league contract July 22 after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays (+1.5), previously pitched for the Tigers in 2009. They're one of a record 14 MLB teams the soon-to-be 36-year-old Jackson has suited up for since his career began with the Dodgers in 2003.
Both clubs need their starters to give them innings after Thursday's game. The Tigers won 10-8 on a walk-off home run by Jordy Mercer -- the eighth home run of a game that saw 12 pitchers used.
"That's an awesome feeling, especially since I had never hit one," Mercer, who had played 862 games without hitting a walk-off home run prior to Thursday, told the media after the game. "I have a lot of game-ending hits, but you always dream about hitting a walk-off homer. This isn't the year we hoped for, but there are still good moments."
The Royals used six relievers after starter Jose Lopez lasted just 1 1/3 innings. The biggest problem for Kansas City was its own undoing: nine walks allowed. Kansas City's final pitcher, Richard Lovelady, walked the leadoff batter before surrendering Mercer's home run.
"They're not trying to walk guys," Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters of his pitching staff after the game. "But we've got to keep working on it. We've been doing a pretty good job of containing the walks, but we couldn't do it tonight. It was just one of those nights.
The Tigers used four relievers over 6 1/3 innings after starter Matthew Boyd couldn't get out of the third inning.
--Field Level Media
Updated August 9, 2019