Opinion

Jeremy Guthrie duels with Justin Verlander as Royals head to Detroit

Jeremy Guthrie will start in the Royals’ series opener with the Tigers.
Jeremy Guthrie will start in the Royals’ series opener with the Tigers. The Associated Press

So now the Royals have won a season series against the Yankees for the first time since 1999. Their intersection this past weekend created an interesting juxtaposition: The Yankees are on the verge of missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992 and 1993.

The Royals, of course, haven’t been to October since…

Well, you know.

The biggest obstacle to Kansas City’s return to the promised land resides already behind them. The Royals possesses a two-game lead over the Detroit Tigers (a realist would place the lead at 1 ½ games, given their suspended, looming loss to Cleveland). That sets up a momentous matchup at Comerica Park these next three days.

The Royals play the Tigers six times in September. Their preferable route to the playoffs would involve winning the division, rather than tangling with Seattle (and perhaps Cleveland, or even Oakland [!]) for the second wild card spot.

The first contest starts sooner than you think. You can thank Monday Night Football at Ford Field, across the street from the ballpark, for the early first pitch.

Here are the matchups for this week:

Monday, 3:08 p.m.: Jeremy Guthrie (10-10, 4.31 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (12-12, 4.80 ERA).

Tuesday, 6:08 p.m.: Jason Vargas (11-7, 3.14 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (15-5, 3.25 ERA).

Wednesday, 6:08 p.m.: James Shields (13-7, 3.23 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (15-10, 3.30 ERA).

FROM THE STAR

The Royals spoiled Derek Jeter’s day of celebration and survived another offensive no-show.

Danny Duffy underwent an MRI on his sore left shoulder on Sunday. The Royals will make the results known on Monday.

THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO FANGRAPHS)

73.5 percent.

THE LEAD ON DETROIT IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Two games.

HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC

“Steps And Numbers” by The Appleseed Cast.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar.

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