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Royals series preview: That Cleveland baseball team

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Lindor gets to do Lindorian things

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Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The Royals head to Cleveland this weekend. The Cleveland baseball team stands two games back from the first-place Minnesota Twins in sole possession of second place in the AL Central. The Royals lie on the cellar floor, 5.5 games back of Cleveland, though a Royals sweep could—oh, never mind.

Alex McDonald at numberFire reached out with their projections for the upcoming series. Here they are along with the Royals’ place at the bottom rung of the power rankings ladder:

In our numberFire Power Rankings, we have the Royals as the 30th ranked team in the MLB with a 1.6% chance to make the postseason.

Additionally, here is a quick preview for the three games against Cleveland.

In the first game of the series, we give the Royals a 36.86% chance to win tomorrow night.

In the second game, a 43.92% win probability.

And in the third game, a 38.85% win probability.

The game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Friday, May 26, 6:10 PM CDT - Ian Kennedy vs. Mike Clevinger
  • Saturday, May 27, 3:10 PM CDT - Jason Vargas (L) vs. Danny Salazar
  • Sunday, May 28, 12:10 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (L) vs. Josh Tomlin

Royals at Cleveland pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Ian Kennedy 7 37.2 32 20.8 18 11.7 4.06 5.26 5.17 4.84 0.0 0.6
Mike Clevinger 4 17.1 19 29.2 11 16.9 1.56 2.75 3.83 4.55 0.5 0.9
Jason Vargas (L) 9 54.2 49 22.7 13 6.0 2.30 2.96 4.21 3.95 1.5 2.0
Danny Salazar 9 47.0 69 32.9 23 11.0 5.55 4.74 3.34 3.34 0.3 0.0
Danny Duffy (L) 10 64.2 52 19.6 22 8.3 2.92 3.39 4.52 4.47 1.4 2.0
Josh Tomlin 9 47.0 36 17.8 4 2.0 6.70 3.76 3.65 3.86 0.7 -0.4

The Royals draw Mike Clevinger, Danny Salazar, and Josh Tomlin this weekend. Clevinger has enjoyed much better luck than either of his rotation mates, albeit in just three starts. His .171 BABIP screams for regression to the mean, while Salazar and Tomlin have both suffered .360+ BABIP and Salazar’s home-run rates have been off-the-charts. Salazar owns a 21.9 K-BB%, yet his ERA sits well north of 5.00. Chicks might dig the long ball, but it’s safe to say Salazar doesn’t, as his HR/FB% is the fourth-highest amongst qualified pitchers. Tomlin still doesn’t walk people.

Cleveland position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Francisco Lindor (S) SS 202 10 31 22 2 .274 .337 .525 .360 128 1.8 1.4
Jose Ramírez (S) 3B 182 6 21 24 2 .265 .335 .451 .335 111 1.1 0.7
Yan Gomes C 113 4 13 12 0 .253 .339 .455 .344 117 1.0 0.9
Michael Brantley (L) LF 162 5 20 19 4 .290 .364 .455 .354 124 0.9 1.0
Carlos Santana (S) 1B 205 5 25 26 2 .230 .332 .410 .323 102 0.3 0.3
Bradley Zimmer (L) CF 25 1 2 3 2 .286 .400 .476 .382 143 0.2 0.3
Edwin Encarnacion DH 195 9 21 20 1 .217 .345 .410 .333 109 0.1 0.1
Jason Kipnis (L) 2B 121 4 11 16 2 .226 .256 .374 .270 65 0.1 0.0
Daniel Robertson RF 15 0 1 1 0 .231 .333 .385 .287 77 0.0 -0.1
Erik González IF 6 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .147 -20 -0.1 -0.1
Roberto Pérez C 58 0 3 5 0 .132 .190 .151 .160 -11 -0.5 -0.7

Though Cleveland recently got Jason Kipnis back from the DL, they lost Lonnie Chisenhall to the 7-day concussion DL on Tuesday, and Brandon Guyer is out for at least another couple weeks. Their outfield is stretched THIN. As a unit, Cleveland ranks 20th in position player fWAR with just 4.7 wins accumulated on the season, though it’s their defense that has been their primary undoing. They are slashing .242/.322/.413 with a .318 wOBA and 99 wRC+, putting them at roughly league-average. DRS assesses Cleveland’s defense as having saved 4 runs, but UZR has Cleveland at -9.5. By DRS? Ninth-best defense in baseball, seven slots ahead of the Royals. By UZR? Cleveland is the fifth-worst defense in baseball, 24 spots behind the Royals.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Cleveland?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Royals sweep
    (35 votes)
  • 30%
    Royals take two of three
    (42 votes)
  • 31%
    Cleveland takes two of three
    (43 votes)
  • 12%
    Cleveland sweeps
    (17 votes)
137 votes total Vote Now

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Wednesday, May 17.

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