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Cleveland series preview: Same old guys

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Cleveland Indians v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Though they’ve gotten off to a slow start, this is still pretty much the same Cleveland club that has taken the American League Central crown the last two years. Gone is Carlos Santana. Enter Yonder Alonso. Other than that? There’s little new to consider with this team.

The slow start—18-18—isn’t that dissimilar from what they did last year when they were still playing .500 ball at the game 62 mark before going on a second-half tear.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Friday, May 11 — 6:10 PM CDT — Jason Hammel versus Tyler Bauer
  • Saturday, May 12 — 3:10 PM CDT — Jake Junis versus Mike Clevinger
  • Sunday, May 13 — 12:10 PM CDT — Danny Duffy (L) versus Corey Kluber

Kansas City 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
Game 1
Jason Hammel 7 43.1 24 12.8 13 6.9 4.78 3.85 5.01 5.15 0.6 0.3
Tyler Bauer 7 46.1 54 28.0 19 9.8 2.53 3.16 3.79 3.69 1.2 1.3
Game 2
Jake Junis 7 45.1 38 20.9 9 5.0 3.18 5.15 4.31 4.01 0.1 1.3
Mike Clevinger 7 45.2 39 21.8 14 7.8 2.76 2.94 3.93 4.08 1.3 1.4
Game 3
Danny Duffy (L) 8 43.2 39 20.0 17 8.7 5.15 5.52 4.84 4.60 -0.1 0.2
Corey Kluber 8 58.1 57 26.3 10 4.6 2.62 3.95 3.05 3.21 0.9 1.8

This rotation might still be really good. The Royals draw the three best Cleveland starters this series. Trevor Bauer—er, Tyler—made some waves in the past few weeks talking about pine tar and spin rates. Thus far this season, Bauer has been beneficiary of a .239 BABIP and a 7.1 HR/FB%. Both of these figures point to the UCLA product being a bit on the lucky side of things thus far.

Mike Clevinger has seen both his K and walk rates drop this season, though his K-BB% is only 1.3% lower than his 15.3% mark last season. His velo is up this year, and he doesn’t appear to be deviating much from how he pitched last year, though his ground-ball rate is up this year.

Corey Kluber has yielded an uncharacteristically high 10 dongs in his eight starts. His 20.8 HR/FB% is well above his 11.4% career mark, so it stands to reason that the home runs won’t continue to plague him (comparatively, at least). Other than the dongs being hung, Kluber’s been pretty Klubery.

Cleveland position players

Name Pos. PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos. PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
José Ramírez (S) 3B 158 10 23 22 5 0.283 0.373 0.572 0.401 150 2.2 2.3
Francisco Lindor (S) SS 171 10 28 22 5 0.292 0.355 0.558 0.388 142 2.2 2.1
Tyler Naquin (L) RF 77 2 8 9 0 0.329 0.364 0.438 0.347 115 0.5 0.9
Michael Brantley (L) LF 111 3 10 18 1 0.324 0.36 0.52 0.374 133 0.5 0.0
Yan Gomes C 96 4 12 8 0 0.244 0.323 0.43 0.33 103 0.5 0.6
Bradley Zimmer (L) CF 106 2 14 9 4 0.224 0.283 0.337 0.275 67 0.4 0.1
Erik González IF 25 0 5 5 0 0.375 0.4 0.583 0.418 162 0.3 0.4
Yonder Alonso 1B 135 8 15 21 0 0.218 0.274 0.435 0.305 87 0.0 0.0
Lonnie Chisenhall (L) DL OF 21 0 3 0 1 0.235 0.381 0.294 0.301 84 -0.1 -0.2
Greg Allen (S) OF 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -100 -0.1 -0.2
Brandon Guyer OF 62 2 4 6 0 0.179 0.258 0.375 0.277 68 -0.2 -0.2
Edwin Encarnacion DH 144 9 14 20 0 0.2 0.273 0.423 0.3 83 -0.2 -0.2
Roberto Perez C 54 1 4 2 0 0.128 0.241 0.234 0.222 32 -0.2 -0.2
Rajai Davis OF 66 0 7 1 7 0.22 0.266 0.254 0.235 40 -0.4 -0.3
Jason Kipnis (L) 2B 161 1 17 13 0 0.181 0.256 0.264 0.237 41 -0.4 -0.5

Early on, it looks like José Ramírez and Francisco Lindor are fueling the Cleveland attack. The clubs as a whole is slashing .242/.309/.423 with a .318 wOBA and 95 wRC+. Their offense has been roughly as bad as the Royals’ (94 wRC+). Cleveland’s defense is what has bailed them out, holding a 14 DRS (fourth in MLB) and 13.7 UZR (best in MLB).

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Cleveland?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Royals sweep
    (16 votes)
  • 16%
    Royals take two of three
    (17 votes)
  • 35%
    Cleveland takes two of three
    (36 votes)
  • 32%
    Cleveland sweeps
    (33 votes)
102 votes total Vote Now