Game #103: Cleveland Indians (50-52) at Kansas City Royals (41-60)
By Mike Brandyberry
Sunday the Indians may have hit the low point of their season to date, losing 5-1 and being swept by the Minnesota Twins. As Manager Manny Acta said, “I guess the off day comes at the right time. We need to get our act together.”
The Indians enjoyed Monday’s off day while trade speculation swirled around the Indians. Once thought to be buyers in at the trade deadline, the Indians spent Monday exploring options to be sellers. Rumors swirled around the possibility of Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez or Justin Masterson being traded to a contender for near ready MLB talent. None of the three were dealt and the Indians will have the same 25-man roster they had when they left Minnesota on Sunday.
Tonight the Indians will resume their season, sending Derek Lowe (8-9, 5.09 ERA) to the mound. Lowe has had a 9.60 ERA since the start of June and at some point has to be pitching for his spot in the rotation. Lowe has won his last three outings against the Kansas City Royals, including an April 13 start this year. He allowed four runs in six innings last Wednesday in a loss to Detroit. Acta made mention that Josh Tomlin’s spot in the rotation may no longer be safe after his last start, and if Lowe does not pitch well, the veteran could be next.
Kansas City will look to defeat the Tribe with Luke Hochever (6-9, 5.26 ERA). He and the Royals were defeated by Lowe during that April 13 start by a score of 8-3. He allowed six runs in only three innings of work last Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels in an 11-6 defeat. Hochever beat the Indians on April 25, but is only 2-4 with a 6.31 ERA in his last six starts against the Tribe.
The left-handed hitting left fielder and first baseman has had sparse opportunity with Boston over the last three seasons. In 2009, he was Baseball America’s No. 17 ranked prospect, but is now hitting .259, with nine home runs and 52 runs batted in this season at Triple-A Pawtucket. He has spent the better part of the last three seasons at Triple-A. Wright was 9-6 in 20 starts at Akron this season. The 27-year old had learned a knuckleball over the last two seasons to try and remain in professional baseball.
This afternoon Roberto Hernandez made his second rehabilitation start on his road back to the Cleveland Indians. Hernandez pitched with Triple-A Columbus and did not fair too well. Hernandez threw 83 pitches in five innings, allowing five runs, nine hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Hernandez has at least two rehabilitation starts remaining before becoming eligible from his suspension that expires August 11.
All the game action will begin at 8:10 et from Kauffman Stadium. The game can be heard on WTAM-1100 and the Indians Radio Network. It can also be seen on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Michael Brantley, CF
5. Carlos Santana, C
6. Travis Hafner, DH
7. Johnny Damon, LF
8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B
Kansas City Royals Starting Lineup
1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Alcides Escobar, SS
3. Lorenzo Cain, RF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Mike Moustakas, 3B
6. Salvador Perez, C
7. Eric Hosmer, 1B
8. Chris Getz, 2B
9. Jarrod Dyson, CF
Photo: Getty Images