Monday, March 31, 2008

Opponent Preview - Kansas City Royals

After the Tigers graduated to contender status, the Royals became the division door mats. It does appear as if they are turning a corner after approaching respectability last season. Here's a look at a probable lineup the Tigers will be facing this week.

L-David DeJesus CF
R-Mark Grudzelanek 2B
L-Alex Gordon 3B
R-Jose Guillen RF
R-Billy Butler DH
L-Mark Teahen LF
R-John Buck C
L-Ross Gload 1B
R-Tony Pena SS

The lineup has potential. I really like the chances of Gordon and Butler breaking out. David DeJesus and Mark Teahen are looking to rebound from down years last season. Jose Guillen was supposed to be suspended for his HGH and steroid purchases, but that got pushed back for the moment. Tony Pena is more of a defensive asset, as he's not really much of a threat with the bat. While Gload bats left-handed, he does hit better against southpaws. If any of the lefties are going to be exposed by facing Bobby Seay late in the game, it will likely be one of the others. Now to the bench:

R-Miguel Olivo C
L-Matt Tupman C
S-Alberto Callaspo IF
R-Esteban German IF/OF
L-Joey Gathright OF

Miguel Olivo is solid for a backup catcher. I don't really see the point in carrying a third catcher, especially one as mediocre as Tupman. Callaspo was once thought to have potential, but has struggled significantly with the bat the last two seasons in Arizona. Joey Gathright can run with the best of them, and their best bench player is undoubtedly German, who may start game 2 against Kenny Rogers as he can neutralize a lefty and play pretty much anywhere. Now we shift to the starting pitchers:

R-Gil Meche
R-Brian Bannister
R-Zach Grienke

Meche's contract looks significantly better than it did this time last year. His 3.27 ERA against the Tigers has me somewhat worried. Bannister had his way with the Tigers last year, and we'll see if his studying continues to pay off. Grienke is a popular sleeper, but struggled against the Tigers last season.

R-Joaquim Soria
L-Jimmy Gobble
R-Leo Nunez
L-Ron Mahay
R-Yasuhiko Yabuta
R-Ramon Ramirez

Soria had a great season in the Royals' pen last season, and should be a nice closer again this season. Jimmy Gobble and Ron Mahay are solid lefties to have in the pen. Nunez and Ramirez are big arms with big question marks (sound familiar?). Yabuta is the wild card and could either be a flop or a big time arm for them.

Overall, this is an improved team, but the Tigers should still win this series.

No comments: