Game Preview: Cleveland (69-66) vs. Kansas City (57-82)

By Matt Van Wormer

Last night, the Indians guaranteed the Royals a season that will be under .500 by figuring out Bruce Chen, a pitcher who had dominated the Indians in his previous two starts.  Justin Masterson was consistent, even if his defense wasn’t and the bullpen was Mafia-esque, throwing two perfect innings.
 
Jim Thome looks to be getting comfortable back in his old Cleveland uniform as he had a hit and an RBI last night for the Tribe and the Indians were also able to overcome an apparent injury to Asdrubal Cabrera after he hit a 2-run homer in the 3rd.  Kosuke Fukudome is really becoming an integral part of the Indians puzzle as well as he went 3 for 5 with two runs scored.
 
Tonight, lefty David Huff (2-2, 2.08, 1.19 WHIP) will take the bump for the Wahoo’s as they look to keep their winning ways going forward.  Huff is coming off an outing where he threw six shutout innings against Oakland where he gave up just three hits and struck out four.  It was Huff’s first win since earning one in his first start with the Tribe this year, back on July 18th.  Huff will have to be careful against Billy Butler who is 4 for 9 against Huff with a double and an RBI.
 
Kansas City counters with Luke Hochever (9-10, 4.97, 1.32 WHIP).  Hochever had a mediocre outing against the Tigers last week, throwing seven innings and giving up five runs.  He did have the most important statistic though: a “W.”  Hochever will be hoping that Asdrubal Cabrera isn’t good to go tonight as the switch-hitter has seven hits in 19 at-bats against the righty.  Jim Thome is just 3 for 13 against Hochever for his career but two of those hits are Home Runs.
 
In a perfect world, the Indians would take the next two from the Royals while the White Sox win the last two games of their series with Detroit.  That would set up a scenario where the Indians have a chance to cut the Central Division down to a .5 game difference when the Tigers come to Cleveland for the beginning of Labor Day week.  The only thing the Indians can control, though, is themselves and they need to focus on just winning.
 
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup:
4. Jim Thome, DH
9. Jerad Head, LF
 
Kansas City Royals Starting Lineup:
9. Chris Getz, SS
 
 
 
Photo: John Grieshop/Getty Images

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