Winners of seven games in a row, Kansas City is nipping at the heels of Detroit in the Central Division, and remains just 1.5 games back. Despite this, they remain winless against the Tigers this season and are looking to break through after several heartbreaking losses as well as blowouts.
Can they reverse the trend? Will the Tigers continue to dominate? Here's five factors which may tell the story.
1. Will Royals Power Surge Continue? Entering Monday, Kansas City has been amongst the league's best teams with regards to power since May 29. Since that date, the Royals have clubbed 37 doubles, two triples and 14 home runs to go along with an average of 5.1 runs a game to lead in their winning. In their prior five games with Detroit (all losses) Kansas City has only managed 10 doubles, two triples and one home run while scoring a high of four runs. Clearly, the Royals will have to flex their muscles to turn around against the Tigers.
2. Kansas City Pitching Clutch In Big Spots. The Royals have been swinging the bats well, their pitching has also been incredibly consistent. Since June 7, Kansas City pitchers are holding their opposition to a .169 average with men in scoring position. That's a 12-71 performance by the opposition. This season, the Tigers are hitting .262 with runners in scoring position, but do have 105 strikeouts. How the Royals do with men on base and if the Tigers are able to bear down and plate clutch runs could make the difference in the series.
3. Walking Off A Winner. Yesterday's walk off victory marked only the third such win for Detroit this season despite 20 come from behind wins. Will the ability of Detroit to come back late and steal a game help relax their mindset a bit? Moreover, can the Tigers rediscover their "rally cat" mentality, which has helped lead in many winning streaks during the past? It goes without saying what an advantage this could be for a team in need of confidence.
4. A Royal Pain Again? Since notably foiling the Tigers in 2006 an preventing them from winning the division, Kansas City has proven to be a thorn in Detroit's side from below in the standings, stealing plenty of wins, especially at Comerica Park. Despite this, they enter this series looking for their first wins over the Tigers in 2014. Will the Royals fold under the pressure of having to play up to the Tigers this time around with first place on the line? It's an interesting variable to note.
5. Case Of The Mondays. Of every day of the week, the Tigers' worst record falls on Monday. They're only 3-4 on the first day of the week, which is the fewest number of wins on any day. The opener of this important series falls on a Monday, which means the Tigers will have a chance to kick the habit in a big way.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.Tags: Baseball, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, MLB