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Royals series preview: The Cleveland baseball team

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Them. Again.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Look into to my eyes, you will see...
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals head to Cleveland to face the Cuyahoga club that simply refuses to part with its racially insensitive caricature of a mascot. That club is in first place in the American League Central and looks to be cruising to its second consecutive division title after spending the first couple months of the season playing well below expectations.

The Cleveland nine owns a six-game lead over the third-place Royals with the Minnesota Twins just half a game better than the Royals.

Game times and pitching matchups will look like this:

  • Friday, August 25, 6:10 PM CDT - Jason Vargas (L) versus Stephin Ryan Merritt (L)
  • Saturday, August 26, 6:15 PM CDT - Jason Hammel versus Mike Clevinger
  • Sunday, August 27, 12:10 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (L) versus Carlos Carrasco

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
Jason Vargas (L) 24 140.1 109 18.5 42 7.1 3.59 4.23 4.78 4.70 2.0 3.7
Ryan Merritt (L) 3 8.2 3 7.5 1 2.5 3.12 2.78 4.03 4.50 0.3 0.0
Jason Hammel 25 142.2 112 18.0 40 6.4 4.73 4.30 5.00 4.71 1.9 1.8
Mike Clevinger 19 88.1 99 26.9 48 12.9 3.97 4.53 4.29 4.45 1.0 1.6
Danny Duffy (L) 25 131.0 116 21.4 36 6.6 3.78 3.47 4.44 4.31 3.1 3.0
Carlos Carrasco 25 150.1 167 27.5 40 6.6 3.95 3.53 3.50 3.54 3.3 3.2

Ryan Merritt is probably the same person as Stephin Merritt. Here’s some of his work:

Mike Clevinger walks a bunch of dudes. That probably won’t mean much against the Royals. Carlos Carrasco is still good at throwing baseballs.

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
Jose Ramírez (S) 2B/3B 519 18 81 59 13 .299 .355 .518 .365 127 4.0 4.4
Francisco Lindor (S) SS 563 22 69 61 9 .266 .323 .469 .334 106 3.6 5.8
Carlos Santana (S) 1B 518 18 74 64 5 .250 .355 .446 .342 112 1.8 1.4
Lonnie Chisenhall DL* 216 12 29 51 2 .305 .376 .578 .395 148 0.2 1.1
Bradley Zimmer (L) CF 291 8 35 38 15 .246 .316 .392 .307 87 1.6 0.3
Edwin Encarnacion DH 531 29 74 74 2 .249 .374 .486 .366 128 1.5 1.7
Yan Gomes C 312 8 30 40 0 .216 .305 .355 .291 77 0.9 0.3
Austin Jackson LF 211 5 23 26 1 .315 .384 .495 .372 132 0.9 -0.2
Jay Bruce (L) RF 61 4 14 13 1 .345 .410 .655 .443 180 0.9 -0.1
Erik González 2B 83 2 11 6 1 .259 .268 .395 .281 70 0.1 -1.6
Brandon Guyer OF 156 2 19 17 2 .226 .325 .331 .295 79 0.1
Roberto Pérez C 179 2 15 24 0 .195 .286 .292 .260 55 -0.1
Giovanny Urshela IF 94 0 7 7 0 .205 .247 .227 .215 24 -0.5

As a club, Cleveland has slashed .258/.354/.435 with a .329 wOBA and 102 wRC+. That wRC+ is good for fourth-best in baseball. By BaseRuns, they’re the 20th-best club, so they aren’t particularly good at punishing opposing pitchers once they get on base. They’ve also got just the 22nd-best defense in the game per FanGraphs’ defensive WAR component (the Royals are 17th), though DRS ranks their unit 10th compared to the Royals’ 18th-ranked defense per DRS.

This is like the 689th time these teams have played this year. You know them. They know them. Everyone knows each other.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Cleveland?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Royals sweep
    (21 votes)
  • 35%
    Royals take two of three
    (46 votes)
  • 26%
    Cleveland takes two of three
    (34 votes)
  • 21%
    Cleveland sweeps
    (28 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Thursday, August 24.

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