Cleveland Indians (67-53 SU, 54-66 RL, 44-67-9 O/U) vs. Kansas City Royals (61-60 SU, 60-61 RL, 57-58-6 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, August 20, 2017, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, 2:15 pm ET
Lines: Cleveland -145, Kansas City +134; Over/Under: 9
It’s the end of a weekend series between a pair of AL Central rivals in the Midwest. The Cleveland Indians are on the road as they play the final game of a three game series with the Kansas City Royals Sunday afternoon. Cleveland pounded their way to a 10-1 victory in the opening game of the series Friday night. The pitching matchup for Saturday’s middle game of the set saw Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer take the mound against Kansas City’s Jason Vargas. First pitch in that contest was scheduled 7:15 pm ET.
Cleveland Indians Seek to Stay Hot
Cleveland rolled their way to an easy win in the series opener Friday night for their seventh win in eight games. The Indians entered Saturday with a six game lead in the AL Central over the Twins and 6.5 games over the Royals. Cleveland jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and didn’t look back. Jay Bruce (three runs, five RBI) had three hits for the Indians in the win. Bruce (his second and third with the Indians), Jason Kipnis (his 11th) and Edwin Encarnacion (his 28th) all homered in the contest for Cleveland. Corey Kluber (12-3) picked up the win as he went 5.1 innings: he gave up one run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts before leaving with a mild ankle sprain.
Danny Salazar takes the mound and makes his 18th appearance and 16th start of the year for the Indians. He is 5-5 with a 3.92 ERA, a 1.305 WHIP, 37 walks and 123 strikeouts over 87.1 innings of action. Salazar missed nearly seven weeks with soreness in his right shoulder. He picked up the win in his last appearance, which was a start on the road against the Twins Tuesday. He threw seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts in an 8-1 Indians victory. Salazar is 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, seven walks and 30 strikeouts over 19.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 16th career appearance and 15th start against the Royals in this contest: he is 7-7 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP over 86.1 innings against them. Salazar is 3-4 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.269 WHIP over 43.1 innings over his eight career appearances, seven starts, at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City Royals In Middle of Wild Card Chase
Kansas City was clubbed in the opening game of this series and lost for just the second time in their last six games. The problem is, the Royals are falling in the AL Central as they are 6.5 games behind Cleveland and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second wild card spot. Kansas City had nine hits in the loss Friday with Melky Cabrera accounting for three of them: no other player had more than one. Brandon Moss accounted for the lone Royals run with a solo homer, his 16th of the season. Ian Kennedy (4-9) took the loss as he allowed five runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout over 2.2 innings of work.
Jason Hammel takes the hill for his 25th start of the season for the Royals and it’s safe to say he hasn’t exactly provided much return on the team’s investment. He comes in 5-9 with a 4.74 ERA, a 1.361 WHIP, 39 walks and 109 strikeouts over 136.2 innings of work. Hammel recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came Tuesday on the road against Oakland. He allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts over six innings in an eventual 10-8 Kansas City loss. Hammel is 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, three walks and 16 strikeouts over 17.1 innings of work in his last three starts. He is 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.221 WHIP over 48.1 innings in 11 career appearances, seven starts, against the Indians. Hammel is 3-7 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP over 18 appearances, 16 starts, covering 94.1 innings at Kauffman Stadium in his career.
- Indians are 6-0 in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning record
- Indians are 6-0 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record
- Indians are 5-0 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Royals are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record
- Royals are 1-5 in their last 6 home games
The Indians are hot again as they had won seven of eight heading into Saturday’s contest. That’s allowed them to open up a comfortable lead in the AL Central after struggling for most of the season. Kansas City has been up and down this season as they won four of five before Friday’s loss immediately after a five game skid. The quagmire that is the AL wild card race is keeping almost everyone still in the playoff picture. Salazar is electric right now and you have to give the Indians the edge, especially with their bullpen, in this contest.