Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals

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Pitching Matchups:

  • Game One: Derek Lowe (8-9, 5.09 ERA/4.69 SIERA) vs. Luke Hochevar (6-9, 5.26/4.15)
Derek Lowe is not pitching well at all right now. It appears as if he’s begun to run out of gas the same way he did last season with Atlanta. It’s disappointing considering how well he pitched to begin the season for the Tribe, but ever since throwing a complete game shutout back in May it’s all gone down hill. Lowe can’t throw his pitches past anyone, instead relying on contact. The only problem is that his sinker ball isn’t sinking at all and opposing batters are hitting him all over the yard. He’s tried any number of mechanical adjustments, but it just doesn’t seem like anything he does helps. Can he finally figure things out and give the Indians one desperately needed performance to stop the bleeding?

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Meanwhile, Luke Hochevar has had an up and down season. For every positive step forward comes three negative steps backwards. Case in point: after throwing 7 strong innings and giving up one run against the Twins, Hochevar was ejected in his following outing versus the Angels after throwing at Mike Trout. Yes, he was defending his teammate, but even still it continued a frustrating pattern of inconsistent performances for Hochevar. If he can’t figure things out and finally become the ace Kansas City thought he can be, his future might end before it ever starts.

McAllister has been the Indians’ best pitcher over the past several weeks. That’s all you can really say about him and it’s probably the best compliment you could give him given the circumstances. Ever since he was called up to replace Jeanmar Gomez, he has been a model of consistency. If only the rest of the starting rotation could follow suit. Look for McAllister to give the Tribe at least six quality innings and put them in a position to win the game before turning things over to the bullpen.
Luis Mendoza doesn’t have a lot going for him. He’s had an absolutely awful season for the Royals and hasn’t lived up to expectations heading into the season. That seems to be the running theme for Kansas City. Simply put, Mendoza walks way to many batters to be effective, close to 4 per 9 innings pitched. Combine those walks with an unlucky opponents’ BABIP of .324 and it’s easy to see that Mendoza just can’t catch a break. The strategy for the Indians should be simple: work the count, take walks, and wait for a quality pitch to hit. If they can find a way to stay patient, then there is no reason why they can’t win this game.
  • Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

    Game Three: Josh Tomlin (5-8, 5.87/4.59) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (3-11, 6.68/4.98)

Josh Tomlin is having a rough go of it. Despite the fact that he still isn’t walking batters, he’s not doing much else to keep the opposition off of the scoreboard. I mentioned it prior to the Twins series and I’ll say it again here: Tomlin’s propensity for giving up the long ball is becoming a serious issue. Until he can figure out how to keep the ball from going over the fence, he can’t be relied on. When it was solo home runs it was one thing, but now he’s giving up three-run shots like the one we saw to Josh Willingham. That’s not good. He needs to figure this out or otherwise it may be time to turn to another option.

As for Jeremy Guthrie, he’s had an interesting season. He started the year in Colorado where he was just plain awful. So awful, in fact, he was traded straight-up for the equally bad Jonathan Sanchez. Of course, he’s not the first pitcher to experience the Coors Field effect and I’m sure he won’t be the last. Unfortunately, in his first two starts for the Royals, he hasn’t been any better. So far he’s given up a combined 11 earned runs, 3 home runs, and 15 hits in just 10.1 innings pitched. Can the Indians take advantage of his struggles and add to the misery that has been Guthrie’s 2012 season? Let’s hope so.

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