Series Preview: Kansas City vs. Cleveland
By Matt Van Wormer
After being no-hit by the Angels, a day off may have been just what the Indians needed to get their act together. With the acquisition of Kosuke Fukudome, the Indians are hoping to ignite the offense with a guy who has a great on-base percentage, low strike out rate, good defensive skills and came for a measly $775,000 and two minor leaguers who wouldn’t be in Cleveland in the near future. They got this guy for pennies on the dollar and he waived his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland. Will he hit leadoff? I think it’s a possibility. Who will he see in his first American League series? Let’s take a look.
Jeff Francis (3-11, 4.65) takes on Carlos Carrasco (8-8, 4.25) in the series opener. Carrasco has pitched against the Royals twice this year, with the Indians winning both those contests by the score of 7-3. He went at least five innings in both those starts and gave up a total of five earned runs, three walks and nine strikeouts. The Indians knocked Francis around in his only start against the team, tagging him for 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in just three innings of work. Hopefully Francis is just what the doctor ordered to get the Tribe out of their offensive slump.
Saturday night, Felipe Paulino (1-8, 4.54) takes on Indians team ERA leader Justin Masterson (8-7, 2.57). Masterson faced the Royals twice in six days back in April and dominated them both times. Over 12.2 innings, Masterson gave up just five earned runs, walked seven, struck out 10 and earned wins in both outings as the Indians won by a combined score of 16-9. Paulino has not faced the Tribe this year as he was acquired by the Royals from the Colorado Rockies at the end of May. Since coming over to the American League, Paulino is 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA.
In Sunday’s matinee, Kyle Davies (1-9, 6.75) takes on one of the two Fausto Carmona‘s (5-10, 5.34). We will have to wait and see which one shows up. One of Carmona’s better outings came against the Royals back in April when he went seven innings and had a line that included two runs, two walks and two strikeouts. Davies has not fared well against Cleveland this season, going 0-2 in three starts, giving up 12 earned runs and 16 hits in 9.2 innings of work.
I hate to sound repetitive but anything less than a sweep here will be a disappointment for the Tribe as they try to keep contending in this crazy Central Division race. They are just 1.5 games out of first and the Tigers are dealing with the Angels again tonight. If all goes well, the Indians should be a half game out of first after tonight. The Indians’ front office is also still working on some possible trades to bring a bat and possibly another arm into the Wig Wam for the stretch run. It’s almost August but we need to focus on finishing July as strong as possible!