Road Trip for Tribe Continues with Three Against Royals
Bob Toth | On 12, Apr 2019
The Cleveland Indians are back on the road as they make their slow and steady crawl to the west coast with a three-day layover in Missouri to face the struggling Kansas City Royals.
The Royals (2-10) are still looking for their first win in April after losing each of their first nine games this month (and ten straight dating into March) after winning their first two games of the season. Kansas City was swept by the Seattle Mariners in four straight during the week, losing by a single run in each of the final two games despite putting up 19 total runs in the series. The Royals dropped 12 of 19 games to the Indians in 2018 and were just 3-6 at home against Cleveland while being outscored 101-71 for the year.
The Indians (8-4) have picked up their play over the last week. They began their first homestand of the year by splitting with the Chicago White Sox to open April before sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in four straight last weekend. They outscored the Detroit Tigers 13-6 in their three-game series at Comerica Park, winning the opener before capturing the rubber match on Thursday with a 4-0 shutout.
PITCHING PROBABLES AND NOTES:
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); Fox Sport KC (all); MLB.tv (all)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network; KCSP 610 (KC)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES:
Danny Duffy (P) – 10-day injured list (3/25) – left shoulder impingement syndrome
Brian Flynn (P) – 10-day injured list (3/25) – left UCL sprain
Jesse Hahn (P) – 60-day injured list (2/13) – recovery from August 2018 right elbow surgery
Jake Newberry (P) – recalled from Triple-A Omaha (4/11)
Trevor Oaks (P) – 60-day injured list (3/28) – recovery from right hip surgery
Salvador Perez (C) – 60-day injured list (3/11) – ulnar collateral ligament surgery
Frank Schwindel (1B) – optioned to Triple-A Omaha (4/11)
Mike Clevinger (SP) – 10-day injured list (4/9) – right upper back/Teres major muscle strain
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day injured list (3/28); right calf strain (starting rehab assignment 4/5)
Francisco Lindor (SS) – 10-day injured list (3/28); right calf strain, sprained left ankle
Jefry Rodriguez (P) – to be recalled from Triple-A Columbus 4/13.
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day injured list (3/24); right shoulder rehab
Nick Wittgren (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (4/9)
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – 10-day injured list (3/28); right shoulder rehab
ROUGH START FOR THE BOYS IN BLUE
Whit Merrifield opened the year on fire, just as he ended last season. With hits in his first eleven games of the season, he extended his hitting streak to a Royals’ record 31 straight games (counting his 20-gamer to end 2018) to pass George Brett’s old team high of 30. He hit .340 with a .380 OBP and a .532 slugging mark with two doubles, two triples, a homer, and five RBI during the eleven-game portion of his hitting streak this year, but it came to an end in the Royals’ series finale against Seattle, when he went 0-for-6 at the plate with a pair of strikeouts.
Alex Gordon has channeled his old self at the plate to start the season. Through his first eleven games, he has hit .333 with a .458 OBP and a .583 slugging mark with three doubles, two homers, and ten RBI. Last season, he struggled against the Indians for the third straight year, hitting .197 with three doubles, a homer, and two RBI while striking out 21 times in 70 plate appearances.
Adalberto Mondesi is starting to live up to his billing as a five-tool type of player. The switch-hitting son of former big leaguer Raul Mondesi is now in his fourth MLB season and is only 23 years old. Through his first dozen games of the year, he has put together a five-game hitting streak and provided the Royals with an impressive display of extra base hits, hitting four doubles, three triples, and two home runs while driving in nine runs. He has already matched his career-high in triples.
TRIBE STARTS ROAD TRIP WELL
Leonys Martin capitalized in his return to Motown during the week. In his three starts back at Comerica Park, he went 5-for-10 with two homers, three RBI, a stolen base, and three walks. The five-hit effort in the series surpassed his season total of hits through his first eight games, as he came into the series hitting .148 (4-for-27) with 13 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances.
Over the last week, Tyler Naquin has put up better numbers at the plate. The 27-year-old outfielder has hit .389 with three doubles and has cut back on the strikeout rate that was plaguing him over his first week of the season.
Carlos Santana has amassed at least three hits and two RBI per series this season as he has been the team’s hottest hitter. He heads to Kansas City with a .425/.521/.575 slash as the Tribe’s cleanup hitter and most productive offensive weapon. While his power has been slow to develop in the early going (three doubles and one homer to his credit over his first 12 games), he has been able to come through with the clutch hit throughout the season. He has also drawn his share of walks, averaging two every three games. Santana has flourished in Kauffman Stadium, as the park is home to his largest road home run total (16) in his ten-year career.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
The Indians will conclude their three-city road trip with three more games in Seattle with the Mariners, beginning with Monday’s opener on Jackie Robinson Day. After a day off on Thursday, the team will kick off a brief two-team, five-game interleague homestand with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.
With the Royals’ seven-game homestand in the books, Kansas City will take to the road for a ten-game trip, beginning with three in Chicago with the White Sox. They will follow with four games against the New York Yankees and three with the Tampa Bay Rays to wrap up 19 consecutive games on their April calendar.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images