The Kansas City Royals open their final regular season homestand Tuesday with a three-game series against American League Central rivals the Detroit Tigers.
Barring any miracle of unheard proportions, Kansas City will not reach the postseason this year. The elimination number for the team is down to just one after the Royals lost on Monday to the Yankees, which means one loss or one win by Minnesota results in the Royals being officially eliminated from postseason play.
During the Royals final road trip the team was 4-7 and ended the season on the road at 37-44. Overall the team is four games below .500 on the season.
Part of the team’s core from its back to back World Series appearances and its 2015 World Series title that remain on the team and will be free agents at the end of the season include Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. Add in Jason Vargas the ace of the pitching staff, who will also be a free agent.
While the final six games of the season may be meaningless Royals manager Ned Yost knows fans want to see the stars again prior to many likely leaving to play elsewhere.
Yost says the players have been beaten down during the season and he would like them all to have a few days off, but knows the fans deserve to see their star players on the field.
The Royals meet the Tigers on Tuesday and Detroit is as beat up or worse than the Royals. Miguel Cabrera was diagnosed with two bulging disks in the back but wants to travel with the team and play if he can, which might just be in a DH role, but wants to play nonetheless.
Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus, who is not being retained by the team, said he believes that Cabrera needs to play more as the DH than at first base.
Ausmus said that would benefit Cabrera and the team since he may remain healthier through the season.
Other members of the walking wounded for the Tigers include Jeimer Candelario at third base, and Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook each outfielders.
Detroit has lost seven consecutive games and is 4-20 during September, with one win a 13-2 victory over the Royals.
Vargas will start for the Royals on Tuesday. On the season, Vargas is 17-10 with an ERA of 4.03. Just Corey Kluber with the Indians and Clayton Kershaw with the Dodgers have more wins at 18 apiece than does Vargas.