clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Royals series preview: Cleveland Indians

New, 10 comments

A chance to gain ground in the AL Central

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

(Ed note: It’s my first Series Preview as I’m subbing in for OMD. Be kind)

When last we left our intrepid adventurers-- you know what? If I do some previews once the dark ages (re)start next year, these intros are totally going to be stories: Not just any stories but bad adventure stories about swashbuckling space (Pittsburgh) pirates and zombie robot dinosaurs (Tampa?), but stories nonetheless. But for 2017, there’s still a lot at stake for and little time for silliness.

It’s been a couple of months since the Royals last played the Indians. The schedule between the two teams has been oddly weighted this season: 3 series in May and early June, and now two at the end of August (18-20 @ KC, 25-27 @ Cle) with another September 14th-17th in Cleveland. And, despite the view that the Cleveland baseball club is far superior to the Kansas City squad, the Royals are up 5-4 so far in the season series.

The last time these two teams met in June, Cleveland was "underperforming" in the eyes of many, but still in first place. The Royals, meanwhile, had the worst record in the American League. Since then, the Royals have been the second best team in the league behind Boston and the Tribe are a half game worse. The Royals still trail Cleveland by 5.5 games going into this weekend, but with ten more head-to-head games, there is time to make up some ground.

Indians at Royals pitching matchups, game times, and winning percentages from 538 and Fangraphs.

  • Friday, August 18, 7:15 PM CDT - Ian Kennedy versus Corey Kluber (39%/34%)
  • Saturday, August 19, 6:15 PM CDT - Jason Vargas versus Trevor Bauer (48%/42%)
  • Sunday, August 20, 1:15 PM CDT - Jason Hammel vs Danny Salazar (46%/39%)

NOTE: Sunday’s game will be the MLB.tv Free Game of the Day.

Here’s a closer look at those pitchers:

Team Pitching
Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
1 SP Corey Kluber 31 11 3 .786 2.71 20 20 0 4 2 0 139.2 97 45 42 15 30 2 192 3 0 3 536 173 2.49 0.909 6.3 1.0 1.9 12.4 6.40
3 SP Trevor Bauer 26 11 8 .579 4.75 23 23 0 0 0 0 127.0 134 69 67 19 46 0 144 2 1 0 547 99 3.95 1.417 9.5 1.3 3.3 10.2 3.13
5 SP Danny Salazar 27 5 5 .500 3.92 17 15 2 0 0 0 87.1 77 40 38 12 37 0 123 2 0 6 370 120 3.45 1.305 7.9 1.2 3.8 12.7 3.32
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2017.
Team Pitching
Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
1 SP Jason Hammel 34 5 9 .357 4.74 24 24 0 0 0 0 136.2 147 74 72 18 39 2 109 8 1 6 600 96 4.29 1.361 9.7 1.2 2.6 7.2 2.79
2 SP Jason Vargas* 34 14 6 .700 3.45 23 23 0 1 1 0 135.2 134 53 52 18 39 2 102 4 1 6 565 132 4.31 1.275 8.9 1.2 2.6 6.8 2.62
4 SP Ian Kennedy 32 4 8 .333 4.80 22 22 0 0 0 0 120.0 101 69 64 22 47 1 104 4 1 3 498 95 5.06 1.233 7.6 1.7 3.5 7.8 2.21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2017.

Through some digital wizardry, Josh makes these look a lot better but I think it’s still pretty easy to see that the Royals could be in for a long series. Corey Kluber is having a potential Cy Young season, Trevor Bauer has a 1.88 ERA in his last 4 starts, and “Danny Salazar is back”. At least Kansas City will have a bullpen advanta—

I think it goes without saying that for the Royals to have much of a shot at the division, they need to take the series. The Royals are already down to 6% (538), 1.6% (FG), and 1.4% (MLB) to win the division. Let's hope this weekend keeps those 25%, 27%, and 24% playoff hopes alive.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Indians?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Royals sweep
    (39 votes)
  • 39%
    Royals take two of three
    (84 votes)
  • 31%
    Indians take two of three
    (67 votes)
  • 11%
    Indians sweep and Royals weep
    (25 votes)
215 votes total Vote Now

This series preview brought to you by StubHub.

Whether you’re a baseball junkie or casual fan, games are better at the ballpark. Grab seats at StubHub and be part of the action at Kauffman Stadium. And, download the StubHub app to choose the perfect seats with 360* views from your section.