Ned Yost raised more than a few eyebrows when he explained his reasoning for using Raul Ibanez instead of Billy Butler as a pinch-hitter in the final at-bat of Saturday’s Royals loss. Butler is back in lineup for in Sunday’s finale.
Here is a graph of the AL Central race between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers since Aug. 1. On that day, the Tigers had a four-game lead. After Saturday’s game, Detroit’s advantage is 2 1/2 games, but it hasn’t had the lead the whole time.
Billy Butler, who is hitting .415 against Detroit starter Justin Verlander in his career, will start at designated hitter as the Royals open a three-game series against the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. First pitch is 7:10 and the game will air on Fox Sports KC.
All three games between the Royals and Tigers have just standing-room only tickets available. The last time the Royals neared a sellout for three games in one series was in 2003. Before that, you have to go back to 1988 to find a series that pushed the limits of being a sellout.
In his weekly Royals mailbag, Andy McCullough gives insights on Billy Butler’s playing time, James Shields’ future earnings, plus thoughts on Cheslor Cuthbert, Hunter Dozier and Mike Moustakas. Oh, and more music choices.