Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Kansas City Royals, April 26-29

Gordon smacks a grand slam to take down the Tigers - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians make their third stop on this road trip with a visit to the City of Fountains to face off against the rival Royals.

The Indians conclude their second road trip of 2013 with a trip to the heartland to visit the Kansas City Royals. This one will be a four game set at Kauffman Stadium with the Friday April 26 game at 8:10 PM, the Saturday April 27 game at 7:10 PM, the Sunday matinee at 2:10 PM and the finale on Monday back at 8:10 PM. After the game, they will head home for short two game set against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Team in a Box

Kansas City Royals

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

11-8

Runs/Game

4.3

11th

Runs/Game

3.5

1st

AL Central

1st

OBP

321

10th

H/9

7.8

1st

Last 10

5-5

SLG

392

10th

BB/9

3.0

2nd

Last 30

N/A

Steals

16

3rd

SO/9

8.5

10th

The Royals just concluded a rough road trip, but still lead the Central by a game and a half. They are third in batting average but only eleventh in runs scored and have a team OPS+ of 98. But they are in first place because of the pitching staff. The offseason deal for James Shields and Wade Davis has paid off so far. Also, the acquisitions of Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie are likewise paying off. They lead the league in hits allowed, are second in runs and walks allowed and third in ERA, with a team ERA+ of 126 so far. They have also been relatively healthy so far. In fact they have only made one transaction so far this year, calling up reliever Will Smith for one day (he wasn't used) and then optioning him back out the following day.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

LF

Alex Gordon

L

87

337

368

530

147

SS

Alcides Escobar

R

85

295

333

436

113

DH

Billy Butler

R

73

254

397

424

130

1B

Eric Hosmer

L

61

288

377

346

104

CF

Lorenzo Cain

R

74

359

419

500

156

3B

Mike Moustakas

L

71

154

225

200

20

RF

Jeff Francoeur

R

73

243

274

329

68

C

Salvador Perez

R

75

274

280

356

76

2B

Chris Getz

L

61

228

241

386

72

This lineup has been heavily dependent on Gordon and Cain so far with a sprinkling of Hosmer. Butler and Escobar have been serviceable, but man has Moustakas been awful. Nobody on the roster has more than 3 home runs though, so the bulk of the slugging has been doubles oriented. The bench has accumulated a total of 46 plate appearances so far. It will be interesting to see if old man Miguel Tejada will start to get some more time at third in the wake of Moustakas' troubles and I keep waiting for Jarrod Dyson (or anyone for that matter) to take over for overpriced Francouer. Which I imagine is what the gang at Royals Review is also thinking.

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

H/9

BB/9

K/9

April 26

Ervin Santana (Kazmir)

R

2.48

29.0

8.1

1.6

8.1

April 27

Jeremy Guthrie (Jimenez)

R

3.86

25.2

8.4

2.5

6.7

April 28

Luis Mendoza (Masterson)

R

5.14

14.0

6.4

5.8

7.1

April 29

Wade Davis (Kluber)

R

3.20

19.2

11.9

3.2

7.8

Luckily we miss James Shields in this go-round. Santana has reversed his poor 2012 so far this season but the Tribe has basically owned him in the past. He has a 2-8 record with a 4.71 ERA. LNGFT Guthrie has also previously struggled with a 6.84 ERA in six appearances, 4 of them being starts. Surprisingly enough, Mendoza has had better success against the Tribe, 3-1 record with a 4.50 ERA in 4 starts. Davis while with Tampa Bay has very good success against us, but with a small sample size, a 2.89 ERA in only 2 starts, but 6 appearances covering 18.2 innings.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Greg Holland

R

5.14

7.0

6.4

7.7

18.0

Kelvin Herrera

R

5.79

9.1

7.7

3.9

14.5

Tim Collins

L

1.17

7.2

2.3

2.3

10.6

Holland is a former 10th round pick that has taken over the closer role. He already has 5 saves and an insane K rate, which does not bode well for us. Herrera also has another insane K rate so we better get to the starters before these two enter the game. But both have poor ERAs so far as well. Collins is the short lefty who gets guys out at a very good so far in his career. Rightie Aaron Crow is also another reliever that should see some action against us in a setup role. Former starters Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen now reside in the bullpen, which is probably a good thing.

On the Shelf

  • SP Danny Duffy (June 2012 Tommy John surgery) - 15-day DL, possible late June return
  • RP Felipe Paulino (July 2012 Tommy John surgery) - 60-day DL, possible July return

Duffy was the #68 Baseball America prospect heading into the 2011 season. He could replace Mendoza if he proved to be healthy. Paulino is another live arm for the pen.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

2012

8

10

444

114

103

546

Last 5

50

40

556

501

419

581

Last 10

101

82

552

983

830

577

All-Time

303

288

513

2775

2565

536

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