Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals

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David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

  • Game One: Justin Masterson vs. Luis Mendoza

Mercifully this tragic season is coming to an end for the Indians’ nominal ace. Masterson struck out eight in 4 ⅓ innings on Saturday, allowing four runs. The Royals have never been kind to Justin, he’s got a 4.50 ERA over 70 innings against them. Alex Gordon in particular murders him—the guy’s 11-for-27 with a .704 slugging percentage against Masterson. He’s kept the clamps on Butler at 8-for-32 with only a double. With a 3.70 ERA at Kauffman he’s as comfortable there as anywhere, so here’s to a great game, for your old boy Merritt.

Mendoza continues, against all odds to hold a roster spot for the Royals. His 4.44 SIERA resembles rather clearly his ERA (4.50), this guy is just a below average pitcher. But at least he’s on the Royals, they’re good at collecting bad arms. He’s 2-1 against the Indians this year though despite allowing 11 earned runs (13 total) in 20 innings. Lucky Luis, this is where it runs out. Zing.

  • Game Two: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Will Smith

Look, it’s been a long season, alright? What more can I say about this guy that doesn’t sound whiny? I probably won’t watch this game (have a flight to catch) and I’m glad, because I don’t like watching Ubaldo. Chances are, he’ll be on the mound when I see the Tribe in Chicago, but that I can deal with. He’s got a 3.93 ERA in September (just in time!) and was alright against the Tigers with three earned runs over six innings in a no-decision. This is a perfect time for him to carve up the Royals—nothing matters so there’s no pressure and he can herky-jerk his way to a shutout. I’m calling it now.

There’s a Fresh Prince joke in here somewhere, but I’ll leave that up to you. There’s comment space below. I ain’t got the time. One of the Royals’ rookie hurlers, Smith just screams Kansas City rotation to me. Not that great, fastball in the low-90’s with middling secondary stuff and he loses more than he wins. He’s got a 5.08 ERA in his rookie round, with a 4.66 SIERA, so he’s had slightly bad luck, I guess. His career BABIP over both minors and in KC is .325, exactly what he’s recorded with the big club. The Indians faced him back in May and could muster only two runs off Smith over six innings, that was in that swoon following a sweep of the Tigers if you’ll remember. He’s a lefty, so we know what that means unless Acta starts Canzler or LaPorta, or preferably both. Luckily I already called a shutout.


  • Game Three: David Huff vs. Jake Odorizzi

One day, David Huff, someone will find you and love you. It seems like he and the Indians just can’t keep it going even when he looks good. Always there for a spot start, can’t quite hold it down in a regular role in the rotation. He’s back though and I for one always enjoy him, making due with so little. On a pitch limit in Minnesota he lasted 4 ⅓ innings and allowed three runs, pretty much a Huff-ian outing. Righties have hit .190 off him this month, unfortunately for him three of the Royals best hitters are left-handed and the other is Billy Butler, who’s 5-for-12 off Huff with two doubles. Current Royals hitters actually only have a .650 OPS against David, so maybe he can keep that cooking.

Jake Odorizzi is much like Will Smith, in that he kills aliens and hunts legless madmen in the Old West. Wait, no. This is Odorizzi’s first start of his career after coming over with Jarrod Dyson and Alcides Escobar in the Zack Grienke deal. The other two are showing themselves to be fine players, real major league starters, and if Odorizzi pans out this would be a robbery of the Brewers organization. For a pitcher worse than CC Sabathia. Ugh. Anyhow, Odorizzi has shredded the minors, a 3.50 ERA over 480 innings and was a monster in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast league allowing only 1 homer per nine innings and holding a 2.93 ERA in 107 ⅓ innings. Scouting reports place him as a middle of the order reliever, much like every Royals prospect. Hopefully the Indians give him a warm welcome to the Show.

Like I said at the beginning of this screed, we need a sweep here so I don’t have to drink a shoe polish smoothie or whatever it was I agreed to. The other guy remembers, I have little doubt. But with Mendoza pitching against the Indians ace and two rookies, something’s gotta roll Cleveland’s way, right? They’ve played some solid ball the last week or so, I’m encouraged.

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