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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | December 17, 2017

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Game Preview: Cleveland (68-66) vs. Kansas City (57-81)

By Matt Van Wormer

The Indians wrapped up an 11 game home stand yesterday afternoon, taking a loss, 7-0 as the bats looked like they weren’t ready for the month of September.  The Tribe went 6-5 and ended up right where they were at the beginning of the home stand, 5.5 games out of first.  Now they travel to Kansas City for three games in preparation for a three game set against Detroit at Progressive Field to start next week.
 
This weekend provides a good opportunity for the Indians to gain some ground in the Central.  While they are taking on the last place team in the division, the Tigers and White Sox will be beating each other up in the Motor City.  No matter what the outcome of those games, the Indians need to take full advantage of a lesser team and put some more tallies in the “W” column.
 
To start the series off, the Indians will get another chance to figure out the pitching magic of Bruce Chen (10-5, 3.94, 1.36 WHIP).  The southpaw is 2-0 with an ERA of just 1.88 against the Tribe this year.  It was just this past Sunday that saw Chen throw 7.1 innings, giving up just one run for his fifth straight win.  The Indians can’t afford to let him get his sixth in a row tonight.  Hopefully the hitters have done their homework and can get to Chen early and often.
 
The man who gets no run support, Justin Masterson (10-8, 2.83, 1.21 WHIP), will take the hill for Cleveland, going up against Chen for the second time this week.  Masterson pitched well on Sunday, going six innings and giving up just two runs.  But the lack of offense has been his kryptonite all season.  Though he doesn’t show any signs of fatigue right now, Masterson has already thrown more innings than any other season of his career.  He will easily hit the 220 mark before it’s all said and done.  Masterson will need to be careful of the duo of Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon who have had quite a bit of success against the Big Nasty.
 
Opportunities like the one presented to the Indians this weekend will not happen many more times this season.  They have to take the bull by the horns, dig down deep and know that they are capable of winning every ball game they play.  Losses at this time are not an option, especially with the Tigers and White Sox battling each other.  The Indians need to be in “win or go home” mode for the rest of this month if they want to play in another one in 2011.
 
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup:
4. Jim Thome, DH
 
Kansas City Royals Starting Lineup:

 

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images