Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4971 Detroit Tigers vs.
#4972 Kansas City Royals
Friday, July 23, 2021 at 8:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Detroit Tigers will open a three-game series on the road at Kauffman Stadium on Friday afternoon against the American League Central-rival Kansas City Royals.

The Royals sit in last place in the division standings with a 39-55 overall record but they enter the series riding a two-game winning streak. Detroit has also been trending up since the All-Star Break, winning six straight games to climb within five games of the .500-mark. The Tigers currently sit 12.5 games back of the AL Central lead and nine games back of the space in the AL Wild Card race with a 46-51 record through 97 games.

Can the Tigers stay hot on the road against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night?

Peralta paying instant dividends in Detroit

While Detroit hasn’t officially announced a starter for Friday’s contest, veteran right-hander Wily Peralta is expected to get the call in the series opener versus the Royals. Peralta signed with the Tigers as a reclamation project but has paid immediate dividends in Detroit since joining the big league club. The 32-year-old is fresh off of a seven-inning gem at home against the Twins. He limited Minnesota to just four hits in seven scoreless frames to win his third consecutive decision. The Tigers’ right-hander is 3-1 with a sterling 1.64 ERA in seven games (six starts) so far this season.

A quick glance at Peralta’s peripherals doesn’t tell the whole story. The Tigers’ veteran has fanned just 5.45 batters and walked 3.00 batters per nine innings of work this season. While no one could confuse those with elite numbers, he’s managed to find success by inducing weak contact and keeping the ball on the ground. Peralta owns a healthy 57.4 percent ground ball rate and opposing hitters have an average launch angle of just 6.8 degrees against him so far this season.

Peralta was part of the Royals’ bullpen in 2018 and 2019 but has made only one career appearance versus his former team. That outing came in his Tigers’ debut on June 15 when he spun 1 ⅓ scoreless innings without allowing a hit.

Bubic looking to build off solid outing vs. Orioles

Kansas City will counter with right-hander Kris Bubic, who will look to build on a quality start in his first outing since the Midsummer Classic. In his previous appearance, Bubic limited the Baltimore Orioles to just one run on two hits over six innings of work but ended up with a no-decision for his efforts. The 23-year-old is 2-4 with a 5.03 ERA in 16 games (eight starts) but he went into the All-Star Break battling some mechanical issues. In three starts prior to the All-Star Break, Bubic surrendered 13 runs in just nine combined frames (13.00 ERA).

Results have been hard to come by for Bubic in his first 26 career MLB appearances (18 starts). He owns a career 3-10 overall record and has taken a step backward on the mound in his second MLB season. Bubic’s strikeout rate has dropped from 8.82 batters per nine as a rookie to 7.61 batters per nine in 2021. He’s also walking 4.74 batters per nine innings of work, which would be his highest mark at any level, including the minor leagues.

The Royals’ right-hander has made three career appearances (two starts) against the Tigers, going 0-0 with a 3.68 ERA in those matchups. Both of those starts came earlier this season, and Bubic performed well in those outings, allowing just two runs in 10 combined innings of work. Per Baseball Savant, current Tigers have knocked Bubic around to the tune of a .353 batting average in 38 plate appearances ahead of Friday’s series opener.

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Peralta will have some added motivation ahead of Friday’s start. The Royals never gave Peralta a shot to be a starter in Kansas City but he’s proven to be a valuable piece in the Tigers’ rotation this year. He’s suddenly posted a 0.34 ERA over his last five starts and has worked at least seven innings in two of his last three appearances overall. Meanwhile, Bubic has battled command issues as of late, walking at least three batters in three straight starts while also allowing four home runs during that span. Take the Tigers to stay hot with a win on the road against the Royals on Friday evening.

Prediction: Detroit Tigers +100

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This matchup has all the makings of a high-scoring affair. As good as Peralta’s been, it is hard to see him continuing his recent run of success. The Tigers’ right-hander has benefited from a slim .187 BABIP and a healthy 89.9 percent strand rate so far this season, so some regression could be on the way. Meanwhile, Bubic logged a 7.27 ERA over the last month and will be making his third appearance of the season against the Tigers in this one. Take this AL Central battle to go over the projected total at Kauffman Stadium on Friday.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.