Kansas City left fielder Andrew Benintendi will have a new title by his name when the Royals begin a four-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers with a split doubleheader on Monday.
Benintendi, 28, was named to his first MLB All-Star Game on Sunday, when reserves were announced for both the American and National Leagues.
Benintendi extended his on-base streak to 19 games in a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday as Kansas City won its first home series since April 19-21.
“It feels good for sure,” Royals outfielder Kyle Isbel said. “It’s a good swing for us and it’s huge momentum for us going into this next series.”
Detroit closer Gregory Soto will represent the Tigers at the All-Star Game for the second straight season. Soto, who has a 2.67 ERA with 17 saves, will be joined by teammate Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium on July 19.
“It’s something really important for me, for my career, for my family. I feel very excited to be there again and represent my team,” Soto said.
Detroit has lost two straight following a six-game winning streak. Tigers shortstop Javier Baez is heating up, going 5-for-19 with two homers and six RBIs over his last five games.
The first game of the doubleheader features a matchup between the Tigers’ Michael Pineda (2-3, 3.62 ERA) and the Royals’ Brad Keller (4-9, 4.37).
Pineda, 33, has made two starts since missing nearly two months with a fractured right middle finger. The right-hander allowed two runs over five innings in an 8-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians last Wednesday.
Hunter Dozier is 4-for-8 with two homers against Pineda, who is 7-7 with a 4.00 ERA in 14 career starts versus Kansas City.
Keller earned his second straight win last Wednesday, when he received a season-high five runs of support and gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 7-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
Keller, 26, is set to make his 17th start of the season and 100th of his career. Cabrera is 9-for-23 against the right-hander, who is 5-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 14 career games (10 starts) versus Detroit.
Keller last faced the Tigers on July 1, when he tossed six scoreless innings in the Royals’ 3-1 victory.
The nightcap has Detroit’s Alex Faedo (1-4, 5.02) facing Kansas City’s Daniel Lynch (3-7, 4.95), who has been out since June 23 due to a blister on his left index finger.
Faedo is pitching for the first time since facing the Guardians last Monday, when he exited in the fourth inning due to right hip soreness.
The 26-year-old right-hander allowed three runs over 3 2/3 innings in the start and is seeking his first victory since May 22. He is facing the Royals for the first time in his career.
Lynch, 25, is set to return from the injured list after making a minor league rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in two career starts against Detroit, including eight shutout innings on July 25, 2021.
The Royals are monitoring the status of leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield, who exited Sunday’s game due to right toe discomfort. Merrifield has the longest active streak of consecutive games played in the majors at 553, dating back to June 25, 2018.
–Field Level Media