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August 12, 2014

What You Need to Know

August 12, 2014

by Chris Mosch


The Monday Takeaway

On June 17th, the Royals beat the Tigers by a final of 11-4 to take their ninth straight game and leapfrog Detroit atop the American League Central. It was the first time Kansas City had held the division that late in the season since 2003, and they beat Detroit again the next night to build a 1 1/2 game lead.

Kansas City’s moment in first place was short-lived, as Detroit reclaimed the division lead a few nights later and had seemingly run away with the AL Central crown over the next month. By July 21st, Kansas City had dropped to third in the Central, 1 1/2 behind Cleveland for second place and eight games off the division lead.

But less than a month later, we’re back to where we started; Kansas City is back in first place after Monday’s victory over the Athletics extended their most recent winning streak to eight games, while Detroit’s reputedly foolproof super-rotation may have taken its second hit in as many days.

After Detroit’s bullpen was exhausted by 12 innings worked on Sunday’s against the Blue Jays, it was critical for Justin Verlander to eat up innings Monday against the Pirates. Instead, Detroit’s worst nightmare came to fruition as the Pirates torched Verlander in the first inning and then watched him exit the game immediately after with shoulder soreness.

Looking at Verlander’s fastball velocity, you might not have guessed that his shoulder was bothering him:

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Alas, he walked two of the first four Pirates to come to bat and ended up leaving a handful of hittable pitches over the middle of the plate. Among those pitches was a first-pitch slider that Star

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<< Previous Article
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