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Tyler Alexander aims to get on track, lead Tigers to sweep of Royals

Jul 11, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Tyler Alexander (70) pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are looking for a rare series sweep.

That could come Sunday, when the Tigers and Royals complete a three-game series in Kansas City.

The Tigers will hand the ball to left-hander Tyler Alexander (3-9, 5.23 ERA), while the Royals will counter with right-hander Brady Singer (7-4, 3.38).

The Tigers (54-85) have swept only three series this season, the most recent being a four-game set against Cleveland played July 4-6. They’d like to make it four.

The Tigers have dominated this weekend series, claiming a 10-2 victory on Friday and an 8-4 rain-shortened victory Saturday afternoon. The Tigers have come to life offensively. They’ve hit eight home runs in their past three games after hitting just four in their previous eight games.

The top part of the order was particularly effective Saturday. The second through fourth hitters in the lineup combined to go 6-for-12 with seven RBIs. Tigers pitchers — Joey Wentz on Friday and Matt Manning on Saturday — have been equally impressive.

They Tigers hope that Alexander, who is in his fourth season, can follow their lead.

Alexander has lost six of his past seven decisions. He has just two quality starts in his past eight starts. He’s allowed 15 earned runs in 12 innings in his past three starts combined.

“It was three innings worth of crap,” Alexander said of one of those starts, Aug. 26 at Texas, when he allowed a career-high seven runs, three home runs and eight hits in just three innings. “It seemed like every ball they hit hard went over the fence.”

Alexander has seen the Royals (56-84) twice this year, pitching a combined 5 1/3 innings of relief in the July outings and giving up one run. In his career, he’s 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in nine appearances. This will be his first career start against the Royals.

Singer is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA in two starts this season against Detroit. He has never lost to the Tigers, going 5-0 with a 2.79 ERA in nine career starts since his debut in 2020.

In his most recent start, against the American League Central-leading Cleveland Guardians on Monday, he allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits in six innings. He was not thrilled with his outing.

“The past two outings I haven’t had the stuff that I’ve, obviously, wanted,” Singer said. “I think the life on the fastball is not as good as it usually is. I think the movement and stuff is there. The life on all three pitches is struggling a little bit, but just got to get back to it.”

In probably his best start of the season, Singer snapped the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 12-game winning streak with six scoreless innings on Aug. 14.

On Sunday, he’s been asked to stop the Royals’ short losing streak.

“You always call it your stopper,” manager Mike Matheny said of Singer’s role. “Whenever you’re on a bad run, this is a guy who’s going to put an end to it and put us back on the right track. And Brady’s a guy who could be that for a long time.”

–Field Level Media