The Kansas City Royals continue their seven-game homestand with game two of their four-game series with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday evening. Game one of the series was on Monday night, with the Indians winning by a score of 8-6. Cleveland now leads the season series 2-1. Kansas City enters Tuesday's game clinging to first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of the Chicago White Sox and two games ahead of the Indians.
Cleveland used a five-run seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie on Monday, and they held off the Royals, who got three runs back in the bottom of the seventh inning. Eddie Rosario and Josh Naylor each homered and drove in three runs in the game for the Indians, while Franmil Reyes went 3-4 in the win. For the Royals, Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier both went deep and drove in two runs apiece. Dozier and Jorge Soler both had a pair of hits in the loss. Both teams had 10 hits in the game.
Indians continue to climb towards the top of divisionThe Cleveland Indians entered their series with the Kansas City Royals three games behind the Royals in the AL Central. They shaved one game off of that lead on Monday. It was the Indians' sixth win in their last eight games. Cleveland climbed above the .500 mark for the first time since they were 8-7 on April 18. The Indians have scored a lot of runs in their wins recently, as they have scored at least five runs in their last seven wins. In contrast, they have scored three runs or less in each of their last five losses.
“We're playing good baseball. We're playing aggressive baseball,” Rosario said on espn.com, “and that's going to help us win games.”
Reyes took over the team lead in batting average with his three-hit performance on Monday, raising his average 21 points from .279 to .300. Jose Ramirez, who was leading the Indians in batting before Monday's game, is batting .281 this season with a team-leading eight home runs. Reyes leads Cleveland with 20 RBI this season. The Indians have the third-worst team batting average in baseball at .210, as four of their nine starters on Monday are hitting under .200. Cleveland is 10th in the Major Leagues with 36 home runs this season. Pitching-wise, the Indians are in the top half of the league in ERA at 3.79 this season.
Rookie Sam Hentges will make his first start of his career on Tuesday for Cleveland. He has made three relief appearances so far this season, giving up three earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched for a 4.76 ERA. His record is 1-0 in his three appearances. In his last appearance on Wednesday, he threw three innings and gave up five hits and two earned runs, including two solo home runs. Opposing batters are hitting .320 against Hentges, who has six strikeouts and has not walked a batter this season.
Royals drop second straight gameThe Kansas City Royals come into the second game of their series with the Indians on a two-game losing streak after their two-run loss on Monday. They have lost three of their last four games, losing by a combined 30-11 score in those three losses. The Royals have won seven of their last 11 games, however. Kansas City has given up at least six runs in four of their last five games. The Royals are 7-5 against the American League Central this season.
Carlos Santana leads the team in all three Triple Crown categories, batting .278 with six home runs, and 21 RBI this season. He currently has a seven-game hitting streak and has a hit in 12 of his last 14 games. Santana is hitting .435 (10-23) in the last seven days. Salvador Perez has also hit six home runs for the Royals this season. Kansas City is 12th in baseball with a .239 team batting average, while they are near the bottom with 29 home runs in their 27 games. The Royals are also in the bottom third in team ERA at 4.48 this season.
Mike Minor will go to the mound for Kansas City on Tuesday evening. He is 2-1 this season, but he has a 5.26 ERA in five starts. In three of his five starts. Minor has given up four earned runs, including his last outing, in which he threw just 4.1 innings, giving up six hits and two home runs. He has only pitched at least six innings once this season. Despite the poor ERA, the Royals are 4-1 in his five starts. Opposing hitters are hitting .248 against Minor this season with six home runs. He has walked 10 and struck out 27 batters this season. Minor has pitched unbelievably well against Cleveland in his career. He has made eight appearances (two starts), and he is 3-0 with one save and a 0.39 ERA (one earned run in 23.1 innings). Cleveland's batters are hitting just .133 against Minor in their careers.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Kansas City Royals have not lost three games in a row all season, and they will not lose their third straight game on Tuesday. Despite his subpar start to the season, Mike Minor has owned the Indians in his career. Meanwhile, the Indians are going with a rookie making his first career start. Pitching against the first-place Royals will be too much for Hentges on Tuesday. Kansas City has won for of the last six games against Cleveland. The Royals are 8-2 as the favorite this season, while the Indians are just 6-9 as the underdog. Kansas City will get back on the winning track with a big win on Tuesday.
Full-Game Total Pick
Cleveland is batting just .133 against Minor in their careers, so don't expect a lot of offense from the Indians while he is in the ballgame. Hentges hasn't pitched that well in relief this season, and he is making his first start. Don't expect him to go very deep into the game. The Cleveland bullpen has pitched pretty good this season, so once Hentges is out of the game, the Royals will have a hard time scoring. Despite 14 runs being scored on Monday, these two teams have averaged just 7.8 runs per game in their last 10 meetings. The Indians are averaging less than four runs per game this season. In contrast to Monday's game, this will be a low-scoring game on Tuesday evening.