Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit
By STEVE KORNACKI  |  Last updated 8/16/13
DETROIT I dont believe the Cleveland Indians can make a run at the Detroit Tigers over the final 41 games of the season. But the Kansas City Royals who beat the Tigers, 2-1, in the first game of Fridays day-night doubleheader could end up being a thorn in the side of the heavy favorites to reach the World Series. Heres why: The Indians (65-56 and six games behind) could be finished off by the tough schedule they face in the weeks ahead. They begin a six-game road trip to Oakland and Anaheim on Friday night. Then Cleveland has three home games with the Minnesota Twins before taking to the road again at Atlanta against the Braves (74-47) and then to Detroit. The Tigers (71-50) have dominated the Tribe this season with a 13-3 record, and the only remaining games are the three at Comerica Park. The Royals (63-57 and 7.5 games back) are now 6-4 against Detroit, and the challengers have nine head-to-head matchups remaining with a chance to make up ground. The Royals could very well sweep this doubleheader with Big Game James Shields facing Toledo call-up Jose Alvarez in the night game. The folks in Las Vegas dont see this coming. The Bovada web site on Friday listed Detroit at 51 odds to win the World Series as the American League favorite. Bovada has both the Indians and Royals at 451 odds. Im not saying Kansas City is going to overtake the Tigers. What I am saying is that they have the best chance. Danny Duffy, a top prospect coming back from Tommy John surgery, flirted with a no-hitter Friday afternoon. Miguel Cabrera broke it up with a two-out single that third baseman Emilio Bonifacio dove for but couldnt snag. Duffy then finished out the inning before the Royals superb bullpen assured the lead wasnt changing. All-Star Greg Holland earned his 33rd save, and has converted 26 consecutive opportunities. Opponents are batting .228 against Royals relievers, who have a collective 2.73 ERA. Former starter Bruce Chen, who gets a spot start Sunday against Max Scherzer, has done to their bullpen what Drew Smyly has done for Detroits. Adding Shields, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis in the off-season turned a poor rotation into a strong one. Jeremy Guthrie also is a solid starter, and Duffy could solidify the rotation. Their rotation is definitely night and day different, Leyland said. They added Shields and Santana. If they get Duffy back, its lights out. Theyve got speed and power. They are a really good team. It was Duffys second start after his rehabilitation assignment, and his first win of the season. Hes a really talented guy, Leyland said. Hes electric. His 95 (mph) is different from someone elses 95. Verlander called the Kansas City rotation and relievers a good recipe for success for those guys, and added that theyve always been a good offensive club with a scrappy approach. First baseman Eric Hosmer, who hit a solo homer off Verlander, is living up to his hype after making adjustments with Hall of Famer George Brett. Salvador Perez is one of the games top young catchers, and designated hitter Billy Butler and Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon are tough in the middle of the batting order. Butler ran his career average against Verlander up to .424 with two singles Friday, and recent acquisitions Justin Maxwell and Bonifacio had back-to-back doubles for what proved to be the winning run. The Royals, after years of dealing away salary fat at the trade deadline, are now in the business of adding parts with hopes of making a run at the Tigers. And they are definitely better. No doubt, said Tigers super utility man Don Kelly. No question about it. They are a much better team. Kansas City was 23-32 on June 4, and appeared to be headed out to sea for another lost season. But the Royals have been 40-25 since then, and would be much closer to Detroit if the Tigers hadnt won 12 straight recently. Detroit had best win two of the last three in this series to stem the tide. The Tigers have been in a dead heat with the Royals since June 4 posting the same 40-25 record. Now its a matter of making their current lead stand up.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Stephen Curry dribbles through entire Thunder defense, scores

Bryan Rust's two goals send Penguins to Stanley Cup Final

Wade Boggs honored to have jersey retired by Red Sox

Agent strongly denies report that Chris Berman is retiring

Bryce Harper cuts batting gloves after homering without them


Jason Garrett on Randy Gregory: ‘He has a long way to go’

Mike Moustakas done for the year with torn right ACL

Did this 50-loss team give others a blueprint to beat the Warriors?

Magic expect to be active players in free agency, could target Al Horford

Report: Rockets to hire Mike D’Antoni as head coach

The Warriors need emotional and tactical solutions

WATCH: Steve Kerr loses control of his mouth at end of Game 5

Why fans shouldn't flip over Sidney Crosby touching the trophy

Dwyane Wade: ‘I don’t want to be on the market at all’

Warren Sapp does not like Timmy Jernigan’s tribute idea

Mark Cuban ‘all for legalized gambling’ in the U.S.

Over 100,000 register for tickets to Texans-Raiders Mexico City game

Markieff Morris detained at airport on suspicion of marijuana possession

Ray Rice speaks to Baltimore Ravens rookies

Report: Mike Holmgren turned down chance to coach the Jets

Lil Wayne & Birdman bet thousands on Madden, then let computer decide who wins

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Ezekiel Elliott will have to ‘earn’ Cowboys starting RB job

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Every time an NBA team came back from a 3-1 deficit (and what it means for the Warriors)

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Sniping quotes highlight NHL conference finals animosity

QUIZ: Name every NBA franchise's original incarnation

The 15 biggest playoff upsets in NBA history

Cy Young Award contenders at the quarter mark of the season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker