|5:15 PM PT6:15 PM MT7:15 PM CT8:15 PM ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 PM MST7:15 PM EST7:45 PM VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 PM CT, September 4, 2019
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri Attendance: 15,308
Soler pays powerful dividends as K.C. hosts Detroit
The Kansas City Royals' decision to trade closer Wade Davis, one of their 2015 World Series heroes, following the 2016 season riled up a segment of their fan base.
Making matters worse, the player whom the Royals got in return for Davis, sputtered in 2017 and 2018. Jorge Soler played only 96 total games in his first two years in Kansas City. He hit .228 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in those two years combined.
But with Soler eclipsing the Royals' single-season franchise record for home runs in a season and a month to go, the naysayers are harder to find. Soler blasted a 431-foot home run into the fountains in left-center field on Tuesday in the Royals' 6-5 defeat of the Detroit Tigers, passing Mike Moustakas' club record of 38 set in 2017.
Soler will look to add to his total Wednesday in the middle game of a three-game series against Detroit.
Royals manager Ned Yost is not surprised at Soler's success, instead saying it was just a matter of time.
"You get kids with talent, it's been my experience that it takes kids generally two to 2 1/2 years to establish themselves at the big leagues," Yost said. "It takes them (that long) to understand what this life is about. He's at that point.
"Soler didn't have a tremendous amount of minor league at-bats. We had to get him at-bats in the big leagues. He continued to work and he continued to understand how to develop a game plan every single day and how to do his homework. He continued to work on pitch selection and pitch recognition out of the pitchers' hand."
The Tigers will have to contend with a hot Soler, who has hit .293 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs since the beginning of August.
Getting the next assignment for Detroit will be veteran Edwin Jackson (3-8, 9.35 ERA). The 17-year veteran knows he can't focus on finding a weakness in Soler's swing.
"Ultimately if a hitter's weakness is one of your strengths, then it's a lot easier to attack," Jackson said Tuesday. "If his weakness is not one of your strengths, you have to stick with your strengths. If it's a pitch you feel you are able to execute, it's all about confidence. If you have confidence in that pitch that day, by all means, throw it. If not, you have to stick with your strengths."
Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire is hoping that Jackson can do something Daniel Norris couldn't on Tuesday, and that several Tigers pitchers have struggled with this season.
"I hope we can keep the ball out of the center of the plate," he said before the game. "We've seen Soler do it to us too many times to us already."
After the game, Gardenhire remained impressed.
"I don't know," he said when asked where the pitch was. "I just know where it ended up. It ended up a long ways away. He's a very strong young man."
The Royals will send Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.93 ERA) to the mound Wednesday.
Junis defeated the Tigers on Aug. 11 in Detroit, striking out six in six innings and allowing two runs on six hits. That win is his only decision in three starts against the Tigers this season, and he has a 3.32 ERA against them.
In 11 career appearances against the Tigers, 10 of them starts, Junis is 7-1 with a 3.18 ERA with 59 strikeouts, his most wins and strikeouts against any opponent.
Jackson is 4-5 with a 5.06 ERA in 11 career games (nine starts) against Kansas City. He faced the Royals on Aug. 9 in his first appearance for Detroit, and he got the win after allowing just one run in 6 1/3 innings.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 4, 2019