Indians Head to Kansas City for Rematch with Royals
Bob Toth | On 02, Jun 2017
Things would be much different for the Cleveland Indians if they could just play the American League West all season. With a series win in four games over the Oakland Athletics during the week, the team improved to 13-3 against the westernmost division in the AL. The club departed Cleveland and headed west after its series with the A’s to take on Kansas City for three games for the second consecutive weekend of play against the Royals.
The Indians (28-24) did not start their homestand on a good note as they lost one game to rain and three straight to the Cincinnati Reds and the Royals. The Kansas City club put 6-4 and 5-2 victories on the Indians in the first two games of their series to drop the Indians to a game above the .500 mark, but the Tribe recovered with a resounding 10-1 victory in the finale of that series. They followed it up with much better results against the second-worst team in the league, the A’s, by outscoring them 23-10 in taking three of four.
The Royals (22-30) remain stuck in the basement of the American League, despite a 15-14 record in the month of May to make up for a rough 7-16 start in the first month of the schedule. While they were more to the good than the bad in May, they were outscored by 16 runs to push their season run differential to -53. They returned home after taking two of three from Cleveland, only to drop two of three to Detroit to fall back to even at Kauffman Stadium at 13-13 on the season.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Tomlin will make his second consecutive start against the Royals after earning a solid 10-1 win his last time out with a complete game six-hitter. The win ended a personal three-game losing skid for the starter. It will be his third start of the year against Kansas City, a team that he has pitched well against throughout his career. This season, he is 1-0 and has allowed just two runs on nine hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 16 innings against the Royals.
Vargas earned the win in his last start, which came against the Indians on May 27. He went five and two-thirds innings in the game and allowed two runs on a season-high nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He faced the Indians two times in the month, with a quality six scoreless innings in his earlier start in May. He owns a lifetime 7-3 record against the Indians with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 15 starts.
After kicking off a little rust in his fourth start in May against Cincinnati after being pushed back several days due to a pectoral injury, Carrasco returned to his prior dominant force on the mound against Oakland on Monday when he gave the Indians seven quality innings and allowed two runs (both on solo homers) on four total hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. He is averaging just under a strikeout per inning and was a perfect 3-0 in five May starts. He is 7-5 in his career against KC with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
The 6’6” right-hander Hammel has been at his best in his career during the month of June. It is the month of his second-best winning percentage and lowest ERA and WHIP for a single month. His one career shutout was also in June. His best performance in May was his first, which came against the Indians. In a quality start, he allowed just one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts for his lone victory of the season. He lost three straight after that start and lasted just four and one-third innings in a no-decision his last time out against Detroit after giving up four runs on four hits with a season-high tying four walks.
Bauer is coming off of career-best performance against Oakland his last time out when he struck out 14 batters in a 9-4 win over the A’s, his third straight winning decision. While Bauer often factors in his decisions on the mound, that has not been the case in his career against Kansas City, as he is 1-2 in seven career starts. He last faced the Royals in 2016, making a quality start in a no-decision, giving up three runs on six hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in six innings of work.
Skoglund had the tough task of making his Major League debut against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers and pulled off the victory with a quality start. He struck out five, walked one, and gave up just two hits in six and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball. The 6’7” 24-year-old southpaw started his season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, making one start for the Naturals before moving on to Triple-A Omaha. He was 2-3 for the Storm Chasers in eight starts with one complete game, posting a 4.53 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP with 40 strikeouts and 10 walks in 43 2/3 innings.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports KC
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; KCSP 610 (Kansas City)
Abraham Almonte (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/16) – right biceps strain
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Shawn Armstrong (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (6/1)
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 7-day concussion disabled list (5/23)
Brandon Guyer (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/14) – left wrist sprain
Corey Kluber (SP) – activated from 10-day disabled list (6/1)
Josh Wilson (UTL) – acquired from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations; assigned to Triple-A Columbus
Scott Alexander (P) – 10-day disabled list (5/8) – right hamstring strain; on rehab assignment
Hunter Dozier (3B) – activated from 60-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Omaha (6/1)
Danny Duffy (SP) – 10-day disabled list (5/29) – grade 1 oblique strain
Brian Flynn (RP) – 60-day disabled list (2/15) – stable lumbar vertebral fracture (broken rib)
Nate Karns (SP) – 10-day disabled list (5/21) – right extensor strain
Paulo Orlando (OF) – recalled from Triple-A Omaha and placed on 60-day disabled list (6/1) – fractured shin
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The Royals won two of three on their first visit to Progressive Field last weekend to even up the season series at three games apiece in a statement that seasons like last year, when the Royals were just 5-14 against the Tribe, would not be happening as easily. The Indians are 2-1 in Kansas City this season after the two clubs combined for a total of nine runs scored in three games.
The Indians hold the edge in the all-time series with the Royals, 349-324.
ROYALS BY THE NUMBERS
Salvador Perez has been the best of the bunch against Tomlin, hitting .514 off of him with eight doubles, a homer, and six runs batted in in 35 plate appearances. He has drawn no walks and struck out five times. The story is much different against Bauer, as he is 1-for-16 (.063) with a double and six strikeouts. He has slumped at the plate over the last week, recording just three singles in his last 22 at bats (.136).
Eric Hosmer is 8-for-38 (.211) against Tomlin, but five of his eight hits have been for extra bases (three doubles, two homers). He has five hits off of Bauer for a .357 average with a homer and three RBI. He has continued his better play at the plate with a strong last week, hitting .364 with three doubles, a homer, and three RBI.
Mike Moustakas has a similar line of production against Tomlin as Hosmer, with five extra base hits (three doubles, two homers) in 24 at bats (.292). He is just 2-for-15 (.133) against Carrasco with two singles, two walks, and three strikeouts and 3-for-16 (.188) against Bauer with a double and three Ks.
Whit Merrifield is 2-for-3 against Carrasco with a solo homer and a triple. He is 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts in three trips against Bauer. He has hit .500 over the last week with nine hits, including a double, triple, homer, and two RBI while drawing four walks.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Indians players have combined to hit .284 against Vargas with five homers and eleven doubles.
Jason Kipnis throws conventional splits out the window against the left-hander Vargas, owning a .345 career average against him with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI. He has also had success in limited action against Hammel, getting a single, a double, and a homer with two walks and two RBI in seven career plate appearances against him.
Michael Brantley is 9-for-28 (.321) against Vargas with two doubles, a homer, and two RBI. He has never struck out against him in 33 plate appearances. He has just one double in eight trips against Hammel. Since returning to the lineup on May 12 after missing several games with a minor ankle injury, he has hit safely in 17 of 19 games, including his recently concluded 14-game hitting streak. He is hitting .357 over the last week with ten singles and five runs batted in.
Yan Gomes has taken Vargas deep once and driven in three runs against the lefty. He has added four singles and three walks. Daniel Robertson is 4-for-7 (.571) against Vargas with a pair of doubles and three walks in his career.
Francisco Lindor is just 1-for-7 against Vargas, but that one hit was a solo home run. Three of his at bats against him have ended in strikeouts. He is 1-for-5 against Hammel with a single and a pair of strikeouts.
Edwin Encarnacion is 8-for-21 (.381) against Hammel with four homers and five RBI in his career. Just one of his 22 plate appearances against him has ended in a strikeout. He enjoyed a rare day off in Thursday’s afternoon finale with the A’s. He finished the month of May riding a ten-game hitting streak, going 14-for-38 (.368) during that stretch of play with two doubles, three homers, and six runs batted in.
Carlos Santana is hitless in eight plate appearances against Hammel with a walk.
The Royals will wrap up their ten-game homestand when they host the AL’s top team, the Houston Astros, for four straight beginning Monday night. They will not face the Indians again until August 18 at the start of a three-game set in Kansas City.
The Indians will take Monday off before heading further west for a brief two-game series with the Colorado Rockies to conclude their quick five-game road trip. The team will get a second day off in the week on Thursday before starting a six-game homestand against the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images