Series Preview: Indians vs. Royals

There’s not doubt that the Indians have hit their lowest point of the season following a series loss to the Angels. They were able to steal a win in game one thanks to rookie Jason Kipnis, however; he was unable to come through again the following night. One look at Jered Weaver’s ERA and you knew the Indians were in for a tough night in game two, but they had their chance with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth. Unfortunately, Matt LaPorta’s grounded into a double play that all but killed the rally. Things didn’t get much better Wednesday, either. In fact, they were much worse when the Indians were no-hit by Ervin Santana in an error ridden contest. Help could be on the way in the form of Kosuke Fukudome, who was acquired via trade on Thursday. They also welcome the Royals to Cleveland, a team the Indians have owned this season.

July 29-31, 2011

Progressive Field

Scouting Report

  • Kansas City – Things have really gone south for the Royals. After starting the season as one of baseball’s best stories, they are once again back in familiar territory: the basement of the American League Central. It’s no secret that the Royals have struggled against Cleveland this season, but the Tribe is reeling right now and the Royals are primed to take advantage of that. Winner of six of their last ten, they hare still susceptible to giving up runs. After winning the series opener 3-1 over the Red Sox, the Royals gave up 25 runs combined in the second and third games of the series. Billy Butler has been red hot for the Royals as of late. In his last ten games, Butler is hitting .356 (16-for-45) with eight runs scored and eight RBI’s. He’s also tallied five doubles and three home runs. Against the Indians this season, Butler is 9-for-31 with two runs, two RBI’s and three doubles.
  • Cleveland – The Indians showed just how desperate they were for offense after getting no-hit by Ervin Santana on Wednesday and acquired Kosuke Fukudome for a couple of prospects. It’s likely we’ll see Fukudome in one of the top spots of the lineup, like in the second. Manny Acta doesn’t want to supplant Michael Brantley from the top of the lineup, and for a good reason. Brantley is hitting .295 when leading off, as opposed to just .218 when he’s out of the top spot. In the month of July, Brantley is batting an even .300, with 14 runs, 10 RBI’s, five doubles and a home run. He’s been especially good against the Royals, going 9-for-28 with seven runs scored, five RBI’s, (four of those coming May 16)  a double and a home run. Cleveland’s offense has unloaded on Kansas City this year. The last time these two clubs met up, the Indians scored 26 runs in two contests, including a 19-1 drubbing on May 16. This year, Cleveland has scored 70 runs in taking seven of nine meetings this year, with 45 of their 105 hits going for extra bases.

Pitching Match-up(s)

Game 1 – Jeff Francis vs. Carlos Carrasco

  • Jeff Francis  3-11, 4.65 ERA

Francis was shaky at times in his first career appearance against the Rays on Saturday, but the lefty pitched five innings of three-run ball, allowing nine hits and walking two with six strikeouts in a no-decision.

  • Carlos Carrasco 8-8, 4.25 ERA

Carrasco has picked up a loss in each of his last four starts, though he has pitched well in his last two outings. In a 3-0 loss to the White Sox on Friday, he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, surrendering a three-run homer to Carlos Quentin.

Game 2 – Felipe Paulino vs. Justin Masterson

  • Felipe Paulino  1-4, 3.86 ERA

Paulino was uncharacteristically wild in Sunday’s start against the Rays, walking two and hitting two batters. He allowed four runs, all earned, as the Royals lost 5-0.

  • Justin Masterson  8-7, 2.57 ERA

Once again, the Indians couldn’t provide Masterson with enough support for the right-hander to earn a victory. A trio of errors and a lack of offense left Masterson with a loss against the White Sox, even though he allowed just one earned run.

Game 3 -Kyle Davies vs. Fausto Carmona

  • Kyle Davies  1-9, 6.75 ERA

Davies had what manager Ned Yost called his best outing of the year last Monday at Boston when he held the Red Sox to one run in six innings. He didn’t break his eight-game skid — he had no decision — but looked sharp in a 14-inning win.

  • Fausto Camona  5-10, 5.34 ERA

Carmona has turned in a pair of quality starts since returning from the 15-day DL after straining his right quadriceps during a start on July 2. In Carmona’s last outing, the righty held the Angels scoreless for six innings on four hits.

Projected Lineups

Kansas City

  1. 2B Mike Aviles
  2. CF Mekly Cabrera
  3. LF Alex Gordon
  4. DH Billy Butler
  5. RF Jeff Francoeur
  6. 1B Eric Hosmer
  7. 3B Wilson Betemit
  8.    C Matt Treanor
  9. SS Alcides Escobar

Cleveland

  1. LF Michael Brantley
  2. RF Kosuke Fukudome
  3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
  4. DH Travis  Hafner
  5.    C Carlos Santana
  6. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall
  7. 1B Matt LaPorta
  8. 2B Jason Kipnis
  9. CF Ezequiel Carrera

Topics: Billy Butler, Indians, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Royals, Series Preview

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