Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Kansas City Royals, June 17-June 19

Lorenzo Cain - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians try to get back over .500 as they continue their homestand with a visit from the rival Royals.

The Royals visit Cleveland for the first time in 2013. The teams split a four game set in late April in Kansas City. The Royals are the second team on this nine game homestand. All three games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are scheduled for 7:05 PM starts. After an off day, the rival Twins complete the home stand next weekend.

Team in a Box

Kansas City Royals

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

33-34

Runs/Game

4.0

12th

Runs/Game

3.7

1st

AL Central

3rd

OBP

312

11th

H/9

8.6

4th

Last 10

8-2

SLG

371

15th

BB/9

2.9

6th

Last 30

13-17

Steals

50

2nd

SO/9

7.2

12th

Since we last met, the Royals hit a major rough patch in May, going 8-20. They have been hot recently, taking two of three from Minnesota, sweeping Houston, taking two of three from Detroit and three of four from Tampa Bay. They now stand just a half game behind us. The offense has been a struggle all year long. They are in the bottom third in most categories and dead last in home runs with just 37. Their team OPS+ has dropped from 98 in April to just 88 right now. The pitching staff has still been good, but not as proficient as they started off in April. Shields and Santana lead the rotation, but Davis has been hit pretty hard. The team ERA+ of 126 in April is still 120 right now, which is keeping this team afloat while the offense meanders. The bullpen has been relatively solid as well. The defense hasn't been stellar, fifth in errors and tenth in fielding percentage.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

LF

Alex Gordon

L

293

301

352

435

116

1B

Eric Hosmer

L

264

272

331

351

89

C

Salvador Perez

R

211

310

332

429

108

DH

Billy Butler

R

270

276

381

404

118

CF

Lorenzo Cain

R

246

274

337

402

103

RF

David Lough

L

88

267

284

395

85

3B

Mike Moustakas

L

214

186

252

284

48

2B

Elliot Johnson

S

113

252

286

346

74

SS

Alcides Escobar

R

282

247

373

333

67

This lineup just doesn't score much. They are heavily dependent on Gordon, Butler and Perez. Both Gordon and Butler have slowed down since April with Pereez kicking it up quite a bit. It appears Lough has finally displaced overpriced Francouer. If Jarrod Dyson is activated, he could also end up in right. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tejada over Moustakas either as he is terrible right now. In fact, after Cain, this lineup is pretty horrific. The bench consists of Miguel Tejada (120 OPS+), Jeff Francoeur (62), Chris Getz (55) and George Kottaras (59).

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

June 17

James Shields (Carrasco)

R

2.79

100.0

144

7.7

2.3

8.1

June 18

Ervin Santana (Jimenez)

R

2.74

92.0

147

7.7

1.3

6.9

June 19

Luis Mendoza (Masterson)

R

4.08

64.0

99

9.4

3.7

5.6

Shields is having an All-Star caliber season except for the 2-6 record. He hasn't done well against Cleveland in the past though: 1-5 in nine starts, 3.99 ERA with a 10.1 K/9. He is the one starter we missed in the April series. Santana has also been a victim of poor run support, 5-5 overall. Historically the Tribe has beaten up on him, 3-8 in 15 starts, 4.33 ERA, 6.8 K/9. But in April he threw seven shutout innings against us, scattering six hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Mendoza has a nice 3-1 record against us, but a 4.50 ERA and only a 3.5 K/9, all of those stats occurred in 2012. He was skipped in the rotation in April in favor of Will Smith for the second game of a doubleheader.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Greg Holland

R

2.16

25.0

189

6.1

4.0

14.4

Aaron Crow

R

3.98

20.1

89

8.9

3.5

6.6

Tim Collins

L

2.25

24.0

181

6.4

4.5

8.6

Holland's career numbers are fairly terrible against us, but that is mostly from 2010. He had one bad outing against us last year, but got a save in his only chance in 2013, albeit he gave up two unearned runs. Crow has been fantastic against us in his career, 1.13 ERA in 16.0 IP with a 8.4 K/9. He pitched one perfect inning back in the April series. The diminutive Collins has not enjoyed a lot of success against the Tribe. He has a 5.01 ERA in 23.1 innings, a 1.414 WHIP and 7.3 K/9. He did have two perfect outings against in April however. The rest of the bullpen include Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, JC Gutierrez and Kelvin Herrera.

On the Shelf

  • SP Danny Duffy (June 2012 Tommy John surgery) - 60-day DL, on AAA rehab
  • RP Felipe Paulino (July 2012 Tommy John surgery) - 60-day DL, on AA rehab
  • CF Jarrod Dyson (sprained right ankle) - 15-day DL, on AAA rehab

Duffy was the #68 Baseball America prospect heading into the 2011 season. He could replace Mendoza if he proved to be healthy. Dyson may get activated for this series.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

2

2

500

21

15

649

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

305

290

513

2796

2580

537

*Does not include 2013 stats

Indians Tickets

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