Kansas City Royals (73-74 SU, 70-77 RL, 69-72-6 O/U) vs. Cleveland Indians (91-57 SU, 74-74 RL, 55-83-10 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, September 17, 2017, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 7110 pm ET
Lines: Cleveland -297, Kansas City +265; Over/Under: 8
It’s the conclusion of a weekend series between AL Central rivals on the shores of Lake Erie. The Kansas City Royals play the final game of a four game series with the sizzling Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon. The teams split the first two games of the set with the Indians rallying for a 3-2, 10 inning win Thursday while the Royals answered with a 4-3 triumph Friday. The pitching matchup for the third game of the set Saturday saw Jason Hammel take the mound for the Royals against the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco. First pitch in that contest was set for 4:10 pm ET.
Kansas City Royals Looking to Make Up Ground in Wild Card Race
Kansas City managed to hang on to a lead late Friday night to even the series and end Cleveland’s AL record 22 game win streak. The Royals entered Saturday four games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot with 15 games to play. Kansas City was led by Lorenzo Cain’s (run, RBI) three hits. Alcides Escobar (his 5th) and Brandon Moss (his 22nd) each went deep for the Royals in the victory. Jason Vargas (16-10) picked up the win as he allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts over five innings. Mike Minor fanned the side in the ninth while working around a hit to record his first save.
Danny Duffy gets the call for Kansas City as he takes the mound for the 22nd time this season. This marks his first start in nearly a month: he’s been on the shelf with a left elbow impingement and picked up a DUI at Burger King last month. He is 8-8 with a 3.78 ERA, a 1.252 WHIP, 36 walks and 116 strikeouts over 125 innings of action. Duffy picked up the win in his last outing, which came against the Rockies at home back on August 22. He threw six innings, allowing two runs on one hit with three walks and seven strikeouts in an eventual 3-2 Kansas City win. Duffy is 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, five walks and 23 strikeouts over 17.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 15th career and 11th start against the Indians: he is 2-5 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.572 WHIP over 55.1 innings of work. Duffy is 2-3 with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.856 WHIP over eight appearances, six starts, totaling 32.1 innings at Progressive Field in his career.
Cleveland Indians Try to Hang On to AL’s Top Record
Cleveland may have had their 22 game win streak snapped with Friday’s loss but they’ll go right back toward trying to maintain their lead for the AL’s top mark. The Indians entered Saturday with a 1.5 game lead on the Astros for home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Yandy Diaz and Francisco Lindor (run) each had two hits for Cleveland in the game. Jose Ramirez hit his 27th homer of the year while Edwin Encarnacion had a sacrifice fly but it wasn’t enough. Trevor Bauer (16-9) took his first loss since July as he allowed four runs on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work.
Corey Kluber takes the mound for his 27th start of the season for the Indians in this contest. He is 16-4 with a 2.44 ERA, a 0.866 WHIP, 34 walks and 243 strikeouts over 184.2 innings of work this season. Kluber won his fourth straight start and eighth in the last nine outings as he picked up the win against the Tigers at home Tuesday. He went the distance, allowing no runs on five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts as the Indians claimed a 2-0 victory. Kluber is 3-0 with a 1.12 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, one walk and 28 strikeouts over 24 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 20th career start against the Royals in this contest. Kluber is 8-6 with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.098 WHIP over 123 innings of action. He is 40-24 with a 2.80 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 85 appearances, 82 starts, totaling 563 innings at Progressive Field in his career.
- Royals are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Royals are 1-5 in their last 6 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15
- Indians are 4-1 in their last 5 Sunday games
- Indians are 40-11 in their last 51 games on grass
- Indians are 43-12 in their last 55 overall
Cleveland may have had their record AL win streak snapped with their loss Friday night but the fact remains that the Indians are poised for the postseason. The Indians entered Saturday with a magic number of two to clinch the AL Central. Kansas City needed the win in order to stay in the race for the second wild card spot in the American League but they still need to stay hot to try and make up ground. Facing Kluber is no easy task, especially in the second half of the season. Look for the Indians to pick up the victory in this contest.