Detroit left-hander Matthew Boyd is feeling the effects of baseball's home run epidemic more than anyone and he'll try to figure out how to keep the ball in the park when the visiting Tigers attempt to avoid a three-game sweep against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon. Boyd has allowed a major league-most 36 homers - including 13 in his last five starts - but has yielded only two in 45 2/3 career innings at Kauffman Stadium.
"It's the way the game is now," Boyd told reporters. "This is the hand we're dealt. We just throw the ball. We can't do much about what they give you to put in your hand. I (make) mistakes and they hit home runs.'' Glenn Sparkman on Thursday looks to end an eight-game winless streak (0-5) when he takes the mound for Kansas City, which prevailed 5-4 on Wednesday for its season high-tying fourth straight victory. One night after setting the Royals club record for home runs in a season, Jorge Soler extended the mark by hitting his 40th on Wednesday - his fourth blast in the last six games. Detroit has lost four straight and 19 of its last 24 games as it steamrolls toward what will likely be the second-worst season in club history.
TV: 1:15 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, FS Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers LH Matthew Boyd (7-10, 4.58 ERA) vs. Royals RH Glenn Sparkman (3-10, 5.86)
Boyd defeated Minnesota 10-7 on Saturday despite permitting five runs and six hits - four home runs - with 11 strikeouts in six innings. The 28-year-old Washington native was 0-4 over his previous nine starts, including an 11-6 loss to Seattle on Aug. 13 when he also allowed four homers. Kansas City's Whit Merrifield is 17-for-36 with zero home runs against Boyd, who is 4-9 with a 6.62 ERA in 18 starts versus the Royals - 1-2, 6.53 in four turns this season.
Sparkman yielded seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-8 loss to Oakland on Aug. 29. The 27-year-old Texan recorded two quality starts during his winless run but has an 8.26 ERA during that span, raising his season number by 1.32. Sparkman allowed two runs in two relief appearances covering 6 1/3 innings last season against Detroit.
1. Kansas City RF Ryan McBroom on Wednesday drove in his first run while going 2-for-4 and is 3-for-7 with a walk in his first two major league games.
2. Tigers LF Christin Stewart is 9-for-29 during a nine-game hitting streak after going 1-for-4 on Wednesday.
3. The series is tied 9-9 heading into Thursday's season finale. Detroit has a losing record against all other American League Central teams.