First things first: in years past, this author took to substituting the name “Racists” for the actual name of Cleveland’s baseball team. The heavy-handed satirical criticism was borne from the organization’s entirely wrongheaded obstinacy in using a racist caricature dulled down in steps over time from a really racist caricature. It was a drum beat loudly and well past the point of having much comedic value.
It was also a lot easier to justify when there was no rivalry between the two clubs. The intermittently competitive Cleveland baseball team had absolutely no animosity or storied history with the Royals, a team in their division since realignment who had enjoyed a solitary season of .500 or better baseball since the strike. Fabricating a fictitious rivalry between the clubs added a wrinkle. After the Royals went to consecutive World Series, this didn’t have the same tenor.
Between that and a few dust-ups across the SBNation platform between other fanbases, it made sense to evolve and simply refuse to use their team name, as some publications have taken to doing when referring to Washington’s football team.
With news that the Cleveland baseball team will be retiring their racist mascot next season (only not really because they’ll still sell merchandise emblazoned with the racially-insensitive Chief Wahoo across the greater Cleveland area to maintain the registered trademark), there will be two rallies held outside the park today, the day of Cleveland’s home opener. One will be the same one there has been for years, a rally protesting the continued use of Chief Wahoo. The other? Well, they are incensed that a racist cartoon mascot is being taken from them. Presumably the former will be markedly louder and better attended than the latter, but the optics of the latter are still bad.
The Cleveland baseball team won the American League Central for the second straight season last year. They opened the 2018 season the prohibitive favorites to three-peat the feat. The Royals possess a 1-3 record, having had two games postponed already due to inclement weather. Cleveland is 2-4, having faced the Seattle Mariners and the vastly improved Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim thus far.
Here are the game times and pitching matchups:
- Friday, April 6, 3:10 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (L) versus Carlos Carrasco
- Saturday, April 7, 3:10 PM CDT - Ian Kennedy versus Trevor Bauer
- Sunday, April 8, 12:10 PM CDT - Jason Hammel versus Mike Clevinger
Kansas City at Cleveland pitching matchups
|Danny Duffy (L)||24||146.1||130||21.4||41||6.7||3.81||3.46||4.39||4.31||3.4||0.5|
In facing Cleveland’s starting pitching, there really aren’t many breaks that the Royals get. Even Josh Tomlin, clearly the worst member of their rotation, has solid career numbers against Kansas City. The only solace Ned Yost’s club can take this time around is that they don’t face the reigning AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. Instead, they face Carlos Carrasco, who finished fourth in CY voting last year. Trevor Bauer, Cleveland’s third-best starter, finished tied for 29th in the majors in fWAR last season. And Mike Clevinger? Oh, he just had more fWAR than any Royals pitcher other than Danny Duffy despite making just 21 starts and pitching just 121.2 innings.
Cleveland position players
|Francisco Lindor (S)||SS||723||33||99||89||15||.273||.337||.505||.353||118||5.9||5.5|
|Jason Kipnis (L)||2B||373||12||43||35||6||.232||.291||.414||.300||82||0.7||0.4|
|José Ramírez (S)||3B||645||29||107||83||17||.318||.374||.583||.396||148||6.6||6.9|
|Yonder Alonso (L)||1B||521||28||72||67||2||.266||.365||.501||.366||132||2.4||1.9|
|Lonnie Chisenhall (L)||RF||270||12||34||53||2||.288||.360||.521||.369||129||1.4||1.2|
|Bradley Zimmer (L)||CF||332||8||41||39||18||.241||.307||.385||.299||81||1.6||1.5|
Cleveland gets the oft-injured Michael Brantley back from the DL Friday. He joins an offense that should complement a strong pitching staff and deliver another division crown to Cleveland—an offense that will likely get even better when they add top prospect Francisco Mejía to the mix after they’ve gamed his service time enough to get an extra year (expect a call-up in mid-May). Balanced, fast, strong. Bad news for Kansas City.
How will the Royals fare against the Indians?
This poll is closed
Royals take 2 of 3
Indians take 2 of 3