Kansas City Royals (72-73 SU, 68-77 RL, 69-70-6 O/U) vs. Cleveland Indians (90-56 SU, 74-72 RL, 55-81-10 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, September 14, 2017, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 7:10 pm ET
Lines: Cleveland -220, Kansas City +200; Over/Under: 9
It’s the kickoff of a weekend series between AL Central rivals on the shores of Lake Erie. The Kansas City Royals open up a four game series with the sizzling Cleveland Indians Thursday night. Kansas City dropped the rubber game of their three game series with the White Sox, falling 5-3 at home Wednesday afternoon. Cleveland swept the Tigers, taking a 5-3 road victory Wednesday afternoon. The Indians swept the last series between the teams August 25-27 here at Progressive Field. Cleveland outscored Kansas City 20-0 in the three game set.
Kansas City Royals Looking to Get Hot
Kansas City dropped two of three to the AL-worst White Sox and that puts them in a tough spot heading into this series. The Royals entered Wednesday night’s action 3.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot with 17 games to play. Alcides Escobar (RBI), Salvador Perez (two runs, RBI) and Lorenzo Cain each had two hits for the Royals. Eric Skoglund recorded a no-decision after pitching three innings: he allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. After the Royals tied the game with two runs in the eighth, Scott Alexander (4-4) took the loss: he allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Rookie Jake Junis takes the mound for the 17th time and makes his 13th start of the year for the Royals here. He is 7-2 with a 4.34 ERA, a 1.313 WHIP, 19 walks and 67 strikeouts over 74.2 innings this season. Junis recorded a no-decision in in his last outing, which was a start at home against the Twins Sunday. He threw 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in an eventual 5-2 Royals victory. Junis is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, one walk and 18 strikeouts over 17 innings in his last three starts. He did not factor in the decision in his lone appearance against the Indians, which came in relief at home August 18. Junis allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts over 2.1 innings in a 10-1 Royals loss. This marks his first career start at Progressive Field.
Cleveland Indians Just Keep on Winning
Cleveland’s win Wednesday extended their win streak to a ridiculous 21 games: their last loss came on August 23 in a 6-1 defeat to Boston. The Indians set an AL record with their 21st straight win, reduced their magic number to win the AL Central to 4 and took a two game lead over Houston for the best record in the AL entering Wednesday night. Francisco Lindor (run) was the lone Cleveland player with two hits while Jay Bruce (his fifth with Cleveland, 34th overall) and Roberto Perez (his sixth) each homered in the win. Mike Clevinger (10-5) got the win after allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 5.2 innings. Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his 27th save.
Josh Tomlin is on the mound for his 23rd start of the year for the Indians in this contest. He is 9-9 with a 5.13 ERA, a 1.273 WHIP, 13 walks and 91 strikeouts over 121 innings of work this season. Tomlin won for the fifth time in his last six starts in his last start, which came Saturday at home against the Orioles. He allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts over five innings in a game the Indians won by a 4-2 score. Tomlin is 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP, one walk and 10 strikeouts over 14.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 25th career appearance and 21st start of his career against the Royals: he is 10-5 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.111 WHIP over 137.2 innings of work. Tomlin is 32-26 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.229 WHIP over 72 appearances, 67 starts, covering 404.1 innings in his career at Progressive Field.
- Royals are 2-9 in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Indians are 23-6 in their last 29 home games
- Indians are 41-11 in their last 52 overall
- Indians are 21-6 in their last 27 during game 1 of a series
Kansas City needs to pick up some wins if they want to stay in the playoff picture. Unfortunately for the Royals, they have to contend with the Indians, a team that just set an AL record for consecutive victories. Junis has pitched well of late but he struggled in his lone appearance against the Indians. Cleveland is even more locked in now than they were in that contest. Tomlin has won five of his last six starts and the Indians are sizzling. Cleveland gets the win in this contest to keep on rolling along.