With each passing loss, the Cleveland Indians get closer and closer to the mathematical end to the 2015 season as their hopes for the second American League Wild Card spot slip further and further through their hands.
The last couple of months have actually been a pleasant, albeit frustrating to some degree, surprise while the offense suddenly began to click to support the stellar starting pitching that has assisted the Indians (75-76) throughout the season. But when the team needed a united team effort, the pitching staff let them down and the offense was notably absent. Tuesday, the scored three after a questionable at best ball four in the third that would have ended the inning. It led to three runs and a Twins’ 3-1 win. Corey Kluber allowed four runs in the fourth inning and the Indians fell, 4-2, on Wednesday night. Six runs over the first three innings gave Cody Anderson the insurance he needed in a 6-3 series sweep avoiding win on Thursday night.
The Royals (89-63) clinched the AL Central on Thursday night with Cleveland’s win and the KC win over Seattle. They lost Tuesday night, 11-2, but walked off with a 4-3 win on Wednesday. They used eight runs over their last four innings to win a 10-4 final on Thursday night.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
With a 3-0 record and 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season, Carrasco has now won more games against Kansas City than any other team he has faced in his career. One of those wins came two starts ago, when he struck out nine over six innings to win his 13th game of the year. Volquez earned the loss two starts ago against Cleveland, allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings. He fell to 2-3 in his career in six starts with an 8.88 ERA, the second-worst mark he has against any one team in baseball.
Tomlin is 6-4 against the Royals with a 4.77 ERA. He has made one start against Kansas City season and it led to a tough-luck complete game loss. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out six. Medlen has dominated the Indians in two career starts, holding them scoreless over 13 1/3 innings. He has allowed eleven runs and a walk while striking out six in that span.
Salazar has taken the decision in each of his eight career starts against Kansas City. He is 4-4 with a 4.79 ERA and has struck out 49 batters in 47 innings. Young will make his first start since July 28th, which also happened to be against the Indians. He has worked in ten games in relief since that outing.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Kansas City
Radio – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; KCSP 610 in Kansas City
AL WILD CARD STANDINGS
TEAM W-L PCT. WCGB STRK L10
New York 84-68 .553 +4.5 W1 6-4
Houston 80-73 .523 – L2 3-7
– – – – – – – – –
Los Angeles 78-74 .513 -1.5 W2 6-4
Minnesota 78-74 .513 -1.0 L1 4-6
Baltimore 76-76 .500 -3.5 W3 7-3
Cleveland 75-76 .497 -4.0 W1 5-5
Cleveland is 330-315 against Kansas City. They are 16 games below .500 (151-167) when playing the Royals in their home park. The two clubs last met just over a week ago when the Indians split a four-game series with the Royals in Cleveland.
ON THE MEND
Jesus Aguilar (1B) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (September 23)
Nick Hagadone (RP) – 60-day disabled list (July 8) – recovery from July 2015 left elbow surgery
Tyler Holt (OF) – designated from assignment (September 23)
T.J. House (SP) – 60-day disabled list (September 4) – left shoulder inflammation
C.C. Lee (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (September 23)
Adam Moore (C) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (September 23)
Tim Collins (RP) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – recovery from March 2015 Tommy John surgery
Brian Flynn (RP) – 60-day disabled list (May 16) – left latissimus dorsi tear
Greg Holland (RP) – shut down for season (September 24) – right elbow tightness; may need Tommy John
Omar Infante (2B) – out indefinitely (September 21) – left oblique strain
Jason Vargas (SP) – 60-day disabled list (July 22) – torn left ulnar collateral ligament.
The Indians have hit six home runs in Kauffman Stadium this season. Three of them came from Brandon Moss.
This will be Francisco Lindor’s first game in Kansas City as a Major Leaguer. He previously played at Kauffman in the 2013 Futures Game. He is hitting .333 against the Royals this season with three homers, a double, a triple, and a team-high 12 RBI in seven games.
Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .326 against the Royals with four doubles, a triple, and a homer.
Eric Hosmer has feasted on Indians pitching this season, hitting .359 on the year with five homers, six doubles, and 20 RBI.
Mike Moustakas is hitting .328 with 21 hits this year. Four of those hits have gone for extra bases, including one home run, but he has just four RBI in 16 games.
Kendrys Morales has provided an offensive jolt to the KC lineup this season. The switch-hitter has batted .274 against the Indians with four doubles, two homers, and eleven RBI.
With their final road trip of the season completed, the Indians will return to Cleveland to host the Minnesota Twins for four straight during the week before welcoming in the Boston Red Sox to conclude the regular season. The Royals will hit the road for their final seven games, beginning with a makeup game on Monday in Chicago with the Cubs before moving southside for three against the White Sox. They will wrap up the season with three in Minnesota against the Twins.
Photo: AP Photo/Jim Mone