Series Preview: Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians

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Pitching Matchups

Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

The Fresh Prince (because if your name is Will Smith and you play for the Royals, that has to be your nickname) took the win against the Tribe last Saturday, doing what most lefties do to the Tribe and lasting seven innings of two run ball. Cleveland was able to work a couple walks off him but they have to be better. The aforementioned “new manager boost” should come into play here and maybe Alomar (it’s still fun to type his name) can build a lineup that can hit left handed pitching. A good fastball is backed by decent secondary stuff (slider, change), and though the rookie probably won’t ever be an ace, he’s better than some guys in that rotation.

Something about David Huff will always make me root for him. Maybe it’s the calmness on the mound, like a less talented Cliff Lee. Maybe it’s the perma-stubble, maybe it’s the guttiness he pitches with, who knows. His short stints in the rotation are always dominant as long as it’s not more than 10 or so starts, so in his fifth start this year I’m expecting something nice. He kept the Royals to two runs over 5 ⅔ innings last Sunday, getting run support and earning the win. We all know what this guy is, he’s no surprises but he’s a great spot starter, so hooray for him on the mound.

Though his team lost 15-4, young Odorizzi lasted into the sixth with three earned runs, all of them coming in the sixth. He looked really good out there for five innings and the Royals may have something here. We have to temper our excitement since it’s the Tribe he’s pitching against and that was back in the Acta regime, things are different now. They know him, the Indians hitters I mean, and they’re going to club him into submission. Still and all, he could be great. At least he’s right handed.

The Indians have “TBA” listed as pitching both this game and the Sunday contest, since Ubaldo Jimenez has been shut down causing a rotation shake up. Even so, McAllister pitched Monday against the White Sox so he’d be coming in with normal rest. The Royals don’t have much experience against Zach, only 23 combined plate appearances, and only Lorenzo Cain has more than one hit. He’s done well against KC but batters have an .866 OPS against him at home compared to .668 on the road. Weird, huh? I checked, no number transposition. It’s likely to be his last start of the season so he’s sure to pour his heart and soul into his final audition for 2013.

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

As an Indians fan it almost feels wrong to discuss how bad another team’s pitcher is, but Luke Hochevar is really bad. Like, why they keep him in the rotation makes no sense. His last 10 starts he’s pitched a combined 61 ⅔ innings allowing 41 runs including an eight-run shelling by Minnesota on September 1st. But the Royals keep trotting him out there, so who are we to argue? It’s a shame Asdrubal Cabrera got hurt the other day because he kills Hochevar to the tune of an .896 OPS, but Shin-Soo Choo is even better, 1.650 OPS with three homers and four doubles in 31 PA’s. Combined, current Indians have a .923 OPS with seven homers. When this lineup is doing that damage, you can’t be long for the Show. Unless you’re the Royals.

Again, Jeanmar Gomez is discussed here because nobody is listed. Gomez had an amazing start this year with a 2.35 ERA in April. It ballooned to 5.26 in May and stayed high and over 16 starts and 87 ⅔ innings he’s got a 5.54 ERA. Seeing as lefties and righties hit about the same off him (.775 and .792 OPS, respectively) he might just be a kind of bad pitcher. In 75 at-bats against current Royals he’s given up 25 hits along with seven walks, only seven doubles though which counts for all their extra-base hits. He’s still not good, but at least they don’t kill him. He’ll be good for four innings then the bullpen gets to work.

Though it’s been a really bad season, I’m still going to miss this team when it’s gone. The heartstrings they pulled, the excitements of April and May and even a little June, the realizations and heartbreaks of August, it’s all part of the journey and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’d trade it for Mike Trout, but not much else. It’s still baseball and they’ve been playing some great ball the last couple series, so get out to the park – I would if I could so appreciate it now, before tickets get expensive again. After all, nobody stays bad forever, right? Right?

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Kansas City Royals Sandy Alomar