KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Danny Duffy looks like the Royals' choice to pitch one of the two games at Detroit on Friday, although no announcement has been made.
Duffy would be recalled from Triple-A Omaha as the 26th player allowed on the roster for the day-night doubleheader, part of the five-game series against the Tigers beginning on Thursday.
The only pitchers announced for Friday are the Royals' James Shields and the Tigers' Justin Verlander, but which game they will pitch has not been specified.
It's speculated that the Tigers will call up left-hander Jose Alvarez from Triple-A Toledo for a Friday start. He's made four starts this year for the Tigers, going 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA. For the Mud Hens, he's 8-6 with a 2.79 ERA in 20 starts.
Royals recognize importance of Tigers series
KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Eric Hosmer called the Royals' upcoming series with the Tigers the biggest series of his career so far. For the team as a whole, this might be the biggest series this late in the season since 2003.
The next five games present an opportunity to gain some ground on the American League Central leaders, who hold a 7 1/2-game advantage over the Royals.
"These are huge games for us, we're not going to sugar-coat it," Hosmer said. "We know they're the head of the division right now, we know we have some ground to make up. That's the good part about going into this series, we control that. We don't have to worry about who they're playing or what the score is in that game, we just have to go out and play our game. I think they know we're playing good baseball and we're going to be ready to play."
The Royals have won 19 of 26 games since the All-Star break, but haven't been able to gain much ground, since Detroit has gone 18-7 in that span. However, the Royals have been more successful in head-to-head competition with the Tigers, winning the last series two games to one and taking a 5-3 lead in the season series.
"We've always played Detroit tough, it's no different now," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "They've been hot as of late, just like we have. Our August has been good and so has theirs. It should be a fun series."
The Royals briefly took over the second-place spot in the AL Central on Monday night, but they've since dropped back to third, where they are 1 1/2 games behind the Indians, after two straight losses to the Marlins. They're 4 1/2 games out of an AL Wild Card spot.
Twenty spots left for Royals Alumni Fantasy Camp
KANSAS CITY -- If you've ever dreamed of playing on the same field with Royals legends like George Brett, Dennis Leonard, John Mayberry, Jeff Montgomery and Willie Wilson, here's your chance.
There are 20 spots left for the Royals Alumni Fantasy Camp with a $3,900 price tag. The camp is open to anyone over the age of 30 and takes place from January 20-24 in Surprise, Ariz. The fantasy camp includes five days and five nights at the team hotel, with personalized uniforms, daily practice sessions and two games a day, including one game against the alumni.
Tuesday broadcast highest rated on FSKC
KANSAS CITY -- Tuesday's 10-inning loss to the Marlins was the highest-rated Royals broadcast ever on FOX Sports Kansas City. It averaged a 12.3 household rating in the Kansas City market, and peaked at 15.6 (145,000 households).
Royals telecasts on FSKC are averaging a 6.4 rating, and have increased 65 percent from last year.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.