Kauffman Stadium the Site of Indians and Royals Rematch This Week
Bob Toth | On 18, Jul 2016
Cleveland and Kansas City, round four, takes place this week as the Indians head to the Royals house, Kauffman Stadium, for a three-game weekday set from Missouri.
The Indians (54-37) come to town fresh off of their first series win over the Minnesota Twins this season. They hold a six and a half game lead over their American League Central Division competitors and a eight-game advantage over the Royals, who sit in third place in the division. The series will mark the last time the two clubs meet for two full months, when the Royals return to Cleveland on September 20 for a three-game series. They will close out the season against one another in three games beginning September 30.
The Royals (46-45) dropped a tough 4-2 contest to second place Detroit in walk-off fashion on Sunday, giving the Tigers the series win while holding on to their slight lead over KC in the Central for second place. Kansas City has fared better against Cleveland of late after sweeping the Tribe in three straight in the middle of June, but the club had lost six of its first seven against them to start the season.
Monday, 7/18, 8:15 PM ET – RHP Corey Kluber (9-8, 3.61 ERA) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (8-8, 4.85)
Tuesday, 7/19, 8:15 PM ET – RHP Danny Salazar (10-3, 2.75) vs. LHP Brian Flynn (1-0, 2.39)
Wednesday, 7/20, 2:15 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (6-3, 2.49) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (6-7, 3.86)
Kluber was shelled for eight runs (five earned) on eight hits in his last outing against Kansas City. He walked one and struck out seven. Salazar has been stellar against KC, winning both starts with dominating numbers. He has allowed just one run (0.57 ERA) on seven hits and walked six in 15 2/3 innings (0.83 WHIP). He has struck out 18 Royals batters this season, a club high. Carrasco is 0-1 against the Royals this season in two starts, but was a perfect 4-0 against them last season in four starts with a 1.55 ERA and 0.83 WHIP, striking out 38 in 29 innings.
Volquez leads the Royals pitching staff with six wins at home, where he has a 6-3 record and a 4.25 ERA in eleven starts. He has pitched once in each series against Cleveland this season, posting a 1-2 record and a 5.09 ERA in three starts with 12 strikeouts and 12 walks in 17 2/3 innings of work (1.59 WHIP). Flynn will make the start on Tuesday, filling the spot previously filled by Dillon Gee. The left-hander has made 13 relief appearances and will be making his first start (and just sixth of his career) since August 7, 2014, while a member of the Miami Marlins. Kennedy is 3-1 at Kauffman Stadium with a 2.11 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in six starts this season. He has had the best success against the Indians of the Royals pitching staff, earning a 2-1 record with a 4.12 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in three starts this year after not facing the team since 2011.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Kansas City
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; KCSP 610; Royals Radio Network
Cody Anderson (P) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (July 17); optioned to Triple-A Columbus (July 18)
Michael Brantley (LF) – 60-day disabled list (May 10) – right shoulder inflammation, right biceps tendinitis; on rehab assignment
Kyle Crockett (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (July 18)
Yan Gomes (C) – 15-day disabled list (July 18) – separated right shoulder
Tommy Hunter (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 16) – non-displaced lower back fracture
Zach McAllister (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 7) – right hip discomfort; on rehab assignment
Roberto Perez (C) – activated from 60-day disabled list (July 18)
Lorenzo Cain (CF) – 15-day disabled list (June 29) – left hamstring strain
Tim Collins (RP) – 60-day disabled list (April 3) – recovery from April 2016 Tommy John surgery
Wade Davis (CL) – activated from 15-day disabled list (July 16)
Kris Medlen (SP ) – 15-day disabled list (May 11) – right shoulder strain
Mike Minor (SP) – 60-day disabled list (March 15) – recovery from May 2015 left shoulder surgery
Mike Moustakas (3B) – 60-day disabled list (May 21) – recovery from June 2016 right knee surgery
Brooks Pounders (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Omaha (July 16)
Jason Vargas (SP) – 60-day disabled list (February 19) – recovery from August 2015 Tommy John surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The Indians’ ability to keep Kendrys Morales in check is a key to keeping the Royals’ run production at a minimum. This season, he has hit .171 (6-for-35) with one double, one homer, and four RBI. He has struck out seven times and has yet to draw a walk.
For the season, Morales is hitting .257 with a team-high 15 homers and 47 RBI.
REIN IN THE MVP
Eric Hosmer has been his usual productive self against the Indians.
The All-Star Game MVP has hit .265 with a .375 OBP this percentage against Cleveland with two doubles, a homer, and five RBI. He has scored a team-leading seven runs in ten games and has walked as many times as he has struck out (six).
CONTRIBUTIONS AGAINST CLEVELAND FROM UNEXPECTED PLACES
The Royals have had strong efforts from unusual contributors this season against the Indians.
Backup catcher Drew Butera appeared in four games, with a double and two homers while hitting .364. Christian Colon has played in four games and hit .333. Whit Merrifield has hit a pair of homers and driven in three against Cleveland while hitting .292. Cheslor Cuthbert has hit .286 with a homer and three runs batted in. He was the offensive leader for the Royals over the weekend, hitting .308 against the Tigers with a team-high four hits and two RBI in the series.
DOING THE SPLITS
Francisco Lindor has feasted on KC pitching this season, hitting .459 with a .488 OBP in 2016. In ten games, he has a team-high 17 hits, including three doubles, a triple, a pair of homers, and seven runs batted in.
Tyler Naquin has hit .318 with a .423 OBP against the Royals this season in seven games, with a double, three homers, and five RBI to his credit.
Mike Napoli leads the club with seven RBI against KC this year. He hit .417 in the series with the Twins with a pair of homers and two RBI.
KIPNIS REMAINS A CONSISTENT FORCE IN LINEUP
Jason Kipnis has been a steady contributor in the Tribe’s lineup throughout the season and the same has continued on through his first 13 games of July, where he has hit .333 (with 18 hits in 54 at bats). He is one of four Indians to hit four homers in the month and has added six walks to give him a .410 on-base percentage.
For the season, Kipnis is hitting .280 with a .341 OBP and .482 slugging mark. His 15 homers for the season are just two short of matching his career high, set back in 2013.
SANTANA BRINGS A 14-GAME HITTING STREAK IN
Designated hitter and first baseman Carlos Santana brings a 14-game hitting streak with him into Kansas City. Home runs and an incredibly high batting average have been specialties for Santana in KC, which could bode well for the streak extending out several more days. Santana has hit 13 homers and 46 RBI during the course of his seven-year career, including three this season, at Kauffman Stadium.
He is a lifetime .331 hitter in KC, but has hit just .128 against the Royals this season.
Santana is hitting .357 in July with a .679 slugging percentage.
Perez was activated a bit prematurely from his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers after the injury to Gomes. The 27-year-old backup backstop had appeared in nine games while rehabbing from his broken right thumb, sustained on April 30 in Philadelphia in a play at the plate and later surgically repaired.
During his rehab assignment this month, he was hitting .313 with a .542 OBP with a double, eight walks, and three RBI. In his handful of games in April for the Indians, he was hitless in eight at bats, but had drawn six walks, scored two runs, and knocked in one.
The Indians wrap up this particular three-city tour of the United States with a difficult pitstop in Maryland to do battle with the Baltimore Orioles. The series will be bookended by off days on Thursday and Monday before the club returns home for nine games against Washington, Oakland, and Minnesota.
The Royals will take Thursday off as well before resuming the final six games of their homestand against the Texas Rangers on Friday and the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images