Found August 19, 2013 on The Detroit Sports Site:
Another week gone by, another plucky Central Division contender exposed by the Detroit Tigers’ overwhelming and dominating attack. Though the Kansas City Royals managed to sweep a two game double header on Friday and send some shivers down spines of many Tiger fans, they still ended up losing three of five games in a critical road series, meaning they left town down just as many games as they entered a few days ago in the standings. Even though the Royals and Tigers still have six games remaining, mentally, Kansas City neeeded this series more than any other. They were riding high on momentum after the All-Star break looking to make a statement to Detroit, the prohibitive favorite to win the division. Even though the double header sweep poked a few holes in the Tigers’ invincibility, Kansas City still needed to win the series to do damage to Detroit’s psyche. Instead, the Royals left town with no real momentum, still trailing the Tigers by 8.5 games. Though their pitching performed mostly well, their bats disappeared in key moments as the team failed to stand up to Detroit offensively over the weekend. In baseball, there’s often something to be said for how a team loses. After hanging in the game, the Royals lost a heartbreaker Saturday night on Miguel Cabrera’s walk off, then were largely dominated on Sunday, barely clawing back to make a 6-0 deficit look respectable in the final innings. Though baseball is a long game, it’s tough to feel good about those performances. Late in the season, the Royals needed more. They needed to make the Tigers think twice about running away with the division, and possibly even leapfrog the Cleveland Indians, who were playing Oakland out west. With this weekend’s results, Kansas City remains one game behind Cleveland, who are still seven out of first place themselves. Neither team should feel particularly good about beating out the Tigers, who Give Kansas City credit for maintaining their 7-6 season series lead on Detroit, but mentally, that matters little after a deflating series which the Royals needed more to build upon their miracle July and August run. A week after Cleveland was upstaged by the Tigers in four games helping in their demise as contenders, the Royals were likely dealt the same blow in five, given their inability to win just one more game. As the end of August approaches and the home stretch beckons, the Tigers remain the class of the Central Division. Yes, the calendar says there’s still plenty of time remaining, but the Royals missed out on their major opportunity to give Detroit something to think about. Facebook feedback of the week touches on the fact that the Royals took two games of a double header from Detroit on Friday, and shows why that might not be a bad omen for the Tigers and their fans, after all. Bill Matich: The last time they swept us in a double header was 84. We won the World Series! As it turns out, this weekend was a win-win-win for the Tigers, Bill. Not only did the team maintain their lead on Kansas City while Cabrera enhanced his run towards another MVP and perhaps a triple crown. Then, by losing the double header, Detroit managed to buoy their chances of winning the World Series. I’d call that some interesting news everyone will have to monitor as October pushes closer. Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax
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