Breakdown of Royals-Tigers race for the last quarter of the season

08/16/2014 2:59 PM

08/16/2014 4:35 PM

For the longest time, the theme song for Royals fans was Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September End.”

But the team’s renaissance has made September fun again, particularly since the Royals have surged ahead of the Tigers in the American League Central. That has raised eyebrows around baseball, particularly since Detroit got lefty David Price ahead of the trade deadline. Well, at least one person wasn’t shocked.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters of the Royals. “I am surprised it took them this long (to get into first place). They are really good.”

Has the tide turned in the division?

ESPN’s David Schoenfield wrote last Monday: “Is it time to panic in Detroit? Absolutely. … The Royals have a better bullpen, better team defense and better team speed.”

A big key to the race will be in September when the Royals play the Tigers six times, including the final three games of the season at Kauffman Stadium (regular-season games, that is). Here’s how the teams look heading into the final quarter of the season (all statistics are heading into Saturday’s games):

Royals

Record: 67-54

Record since All-Star break: 19-8

Games remaining: 27 vs. teams with a sub-.500 record; 13 vs. teams with a .500 record or better

Runs scored: 494, 14th in baseball

On-base percentage: .312, 18th in baseball

Starters’ ERA: 3.69, 11th in baseball

Bullpen ERA: 3.24, ninth in baseball

Runs saved*: 22, seventh in baseball

Tigers

Record: 65-55

Record since All-Star break: 12-17

Games remaining: 18 vs. teams with a sub-.500 record; 23 vs. teams with a .500 record or better

Runs scored: 551, 4th in baseball

On-base percentage: .328, third in baseball

Starters’ ERA: 3.81, 15th in baseball

Bullpen ERA: 4.38, 27th in baseball

Runs saved*: Minus-44, T28th in baseball

* From BillJamesOnline.com

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff

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