Major League Baseball action on Friday evening and a pair of teams from the American League Central will square off as the Kansas City Royals duke it out with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. This is game one of a three-game series. The Indians lead the season series 5-4.
Pitching Matchup: Getting the nod for the Royals will be Mike Montgomery (1-2, 5.67 ERA) and the Indians will counter with Shane Bieber (8-3, 3.49 ERA).
The Royals Have Won Four In A Row
That is not a typo. The Kansas City Royals have been among the worst teams in the league all year and their record is still tied with the Blue Jays for the 3rd worst in the league, but the Royals enter this game having won their last four in a row and six of their last seven. Their four-game win streak came at the hands of the Chicago White Sox, who they just swept. the KC offense has been a mess for most of the year, but they poured on 29 runs in the four games against the Sox and have now averaged 7.0 rpg over their last seven games. Now the bad news. The recent success from the Royals all came at home and they have gone just 14-33 on the road for the year. Can they keep it rolling against the red-hot Indians? We shall see.
The Royals won the finale against the Sox by a score of 6-5 and leading their attack was Jorge Soler and Billy Hamilton, who each had two hits and two RBIs. Soler continues to have an impressive season as one of his hits was his 26th round-tripper of the year. He had a total of 38 homers in his first five years in the league. Cheslor Cuthbert (6) also went deep in the contest. Brad Keller grabbed the win after allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out seven in 6.1 innings of work. He is now 6-9 with a 4.18 ERA on the year. The Royals are 24th in the league in run differential at -71 and their current win streak is their longest of the year.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 18, 2019
Getting the nod for the Royals will be Mike Montgomery, who will be making his first appearance for the Royals after coming over from the Cubs. Montgomery was 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 games out of the pen for the Cubs this year. Montgomery has made 56 starts in his career overall and he is 15-17 with a 4.03 ERA in those starts. In his career, Montgomery has gone 12-15 with a 3.78 ERA in 86 games (30 starts) on the road and 4-7 with a 5.34 ERA in 24 games (14 starts) during July. He has allowed seven ERs on eight hits and five walks while striking out six in 9.1 innings of work over five appearances out of the pen against the Indians in his career.
The Royals have been a poor offensive team so far as they come in ranked 24th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.40 rpg, while also ranking 17th in hitting at .251 and 28th in homers with 95. On the mound, they have been rather poor as they come in ranked 23rd in the league in ERA at 5.00, while also ranking 25th in WHIP at 1.46 and 25th in K’s with 756. The bullpen ranks 19th in the league with a 4.84 ERA.
The Indians Continue To Roll
The Cleveland Indians did not have a great start to their year and they were at times double-digits out of first place in the American League Central, but they have been rolling of late and have closed the gap to just four games out. The Indians come in having won their last five games in a row and 12 of their last 14 and they will look to keep it going against one of the worst road teams in the league. The Indians have won 23 of their last 30 home games in this series, but they are a mediocre 5-4 against the lowly Royals this year overall.
The Tribe just completed a four-game home sweep of the Detroit Tigers and they outscored them 21-5 in the last three games of the series. On Thursday, they won by a score of 6-3 and leading their attack in the game was Jordan Luplow, who had two hits and two RBIs, which included his 10th homer of the year. Jose Ramirez launched his 9th dinger of the year in the win and he had three RBIs as well. Trevor Bauer could be on the move at the trade deadline and he picked up the win to move to 9-7 with a 3.67 ERA on the year. Bauer allowed three ERs on five hits and two walks while striking out 10 in 6.2 innings of work in the win. Cleveland is 30-20 here at home for the year and they are 12th in run differential at +40.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 19, 2019
Toeing the rubber for the Indians will be Shane Bieber and he has gone 8-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) on the year, including 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last three starts and 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts here at home. In his career, he has gone 6-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) here at Progressive Field and 3-2 with a 5.88 ERA in seven starts during the month of July. Bieber has gone 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in three career starts against the Royals.
Cleveland has struggled on offense so far as they come in ranked 20th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.57 rpg, while also ranking 20th in hitting at .246 and 20th in homers with 127. On the mound, they have been very solid as they rank 3rd in the league in ERA at 3.88, while also ranking 4th in WHIP at 1.21 and 4th in K’s with 911. The pen for the Indians ranks 1st in the league with a 3.38 ERA.
Kansas City is:
- 15-46 in their last 61 road games vs. a team with a winning record.
- 13-42 in their last 55 road games vs. a right-handed starter
- 17-5 in their last 22 games vs. a left-handed starter
- 105-51 in their last 156 vs. the American League Central