FanPost

Looking towards the Tribe: The Battle for AL Central Supremacy

The beginning of this season, by all accounts, has been as absurd as the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Some notes from the first two weeks:

  • Boston has the worst record in Major League Baseball (4-10).  In a stat to confound the venerable Bill James, the Red Stockings rank 9th in the majors in On-Base Percentage (.332), but that is by far their highest statistic.  They are 23rd in runs (50), 26th in batting average (.230).  Are they fielding a team of Joey Gathrights?), 24th in slugging (.356), 30th in ERA (6.32), 25th in WHIP (1.44), and 22nd in Batting Average Against (.264). heh.
  • Alex Gordon is tied for the American League lead in hits (23).
  • Alex Gordon (.365) and Billy Butler (.352) are 3rd and 5th in the AL in batting.  Butler is also 2nd in OBP (.469) and leads the league in intentional walks.
  • Former Royal Johnny Damon, at the age of 237, is 4th in the league in RBI (12).
  • Manny Ramirez tested positive (again), and out of love for the game, and respect for the institution, he retired...........moving on.
  • Joe Mauer is left out with a viral infection affecting his leg strength.
  • There was a triple play somewhere by some team.  I dunno.  It was a big deal for a couple of days until some well-known and highly-touted player made a semi-difficult defensive play.
  • Josh Hamilton fractured his arm, called his 3rd base coach stupid, apologized, but maintained that he was dumb(?), and the media continues to swoon over him.

And finally, we find ourselves staring down the barrel of a four-game series that could decide who holds sway over the vaunted position of 1st in the AL Central (in April).  So, let's take a look at the Tribe.

The Indians come in to Kansas City a game up on the Royals, and will look to continue their recent hot streak, as they have won three in a row and eleven of their last thirteen.

  • One of the biggest assistants to the Tribe's early success has been the resurgence of once-proud slugger Travis Hafner.  Travis is hitting .354 with an OPS of 1.053 in the early going, with 4 HR's in 13 games.
  • Grady Sizemore returned to the Indians lineup recently, and smacked a home run and a double in the 4-2 victory over the sliding Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
  • Cleveland has found success out of a portion of their bullpen, giving up just 13 earned runs in 38 innings so far this season.
  • They have also gotten a great run of starting pitching to open the year, with eleven quality starts in fifteen team games.

Projected Pitching Matchups for the 4-game Series:

Game 1:  Kyle Davies (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) Vs. Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 5.03 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

Game 2:  Bruce Chen (2-0, 2.37 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) Vs. Jeanmar Gomez (11 K's, 1.42 ERA in two AAA starts)

Game 3:  Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) Vs. Justin Masterson (3-0, 1.33 ERA, 0.93 WHIP)

Game 4:  SOS (1-1, 5.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP) Vs. Josh Tomlin (3-0, 2.75 ERA, 0.92 WHIP)

 

Keys for the Royals:

  1. Alex Gordon
  2. Billy Butler
  3. Walks (Both Drawn and Given)
  4. Bullpen Usage

Keys for the Indians:

  1. Travis Hafner
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera
  3. Grady Sizemore
  4. Maintain Level of Starting Pitching

 

Anything less than a split would be disappointing.  These teams are fairly evenly matched, and I suspect it will be an entertaining series.  If we manage to take 3 out of 4, then we will be all alone atop the AL Central.

 

Bold Prediction:

Kila Ka'aihue ends the series with a .300/.400/.500 line.

 

Not so Bold Prediction:

Jarrod Dyson steals a base (that may or may not have any direct correlation whatsoever on the actual outcome of the game).

 

Optimistic Outlook:

Take 3 of 4 behind solid starts from Chen and Hochevar while slugging out a third victory.

 

Realistic Outlook:

Split the series behind solid starts from Chen and Hochevar.

 

Uber-Optimist Outlook:

Alcides Escobar elevates a ball more than 20 feet with a distance from home plate greater than 100 feet.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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