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Series preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals

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After a miserable couple of days of rain, the Tribe ended up taking two of three from Detroit to stay on the outskirts of playoff contention at 4.5 games. Next up are the division leading Kansas City Royals who still have home field advantage to play for.

Eric Hosmer has continued his mastery of the Tribe staff in 2015
Eric Hosmer has continued his mastery of the Tribe staff in 2015
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This will be the fifth series meeting between the Kansas City Royals and the Tribe, and the final one in Cleveland. They will play again next week in Kansas City. The Royals took two of three in late April in Cleveland, then two of three in KC the week after. In early June, the Tribe did manage to take two of three in KC but then lost two of three again in late June.

  • Monday 7:10 PM: Edinson Volquez (R) vs. Carlos Carrasco (R)
  • Tuesday 7:10 PM: Kris Medlen (R) vs. Josh Tomlin (R)
  • Wednesday 7:10 PM: Danny Duffy (L) vs. Danny Salazar (R)
  • Thursday 7:10 PM: Yordano Ventura (R) vs. Corey Kluber/Cody Anderson (R)

The Upcoming Schedule: This long home stand concludes with a visit from the White Sox next weekend before the Tribe take their final road trip to Minnesota and Kansas City.

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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league for week 1. It's $5 to enter and first place wins $100,000. Click here to join.

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Playoff Watch: Blue Jays at Braves, Astros at Rangers, Yankees at Rays, Tigers at Twins, Angels at Mariners, Red Sox at Orioles, A's at White Sox.

Team in a Box

Kansas City Royals

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

84-58

Runs/Game

4.5

4th

Runs/Game

4.0

3rd

AL Central

1st

OBP

323

6th

H/9

8.5

6th

Last 10

3-7

SLG

413

7th

BB/9

2.9

12th

Last 30

16-14

Steals

93

2nd

SO/9

7.1

11th

The Royals have the Cnetral sewn up, but have not played all that well in the past ten days. Since beating up the Tigers at the start of the month, they were swept at home by the White Sox and managed just one win in three games with the Twins and Orioles.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Salvador Perez

R

487

253

693

85

1B

Eric Hosmer

L

581

304

822

126

2B

Ben Zobrist #

S

447

290

846

135

3B

Mike Moustakas

L

534

282

801

120

SS

Alcides Escobar

R

591

256

612

67

LF

Alex Gordon

L

352

283

840

131

CF

Lorenzo Cain

R

541

312

865

137

RF

Alex Rios

R

339

259

642

74

DH

Kendrys Morales

S

577

293

831

127

2B

Omar Infante

R

448

217

537

40

OF

Paulo Orlando

R

226

250

717

91

OF

Jerrod Dyson

L

200

257

712

96

IF

Christian Colon

R

94

256

614

71

C

Drew Butera

R

81

216

540

47

IF

Cheslor Cuthbert

R

42

263

781

114

OF

Jonny Gomes

R

243

221

690

92

OF

Terrance Gore

R

3

000

000

-100

C

Francisco Pena

R

2

000

000

-100

# includes stats with A's; ## includes stats with Braves

The bats have been very hot over the past fortnight. Orlando, Cain, Morales, Cuthbert and Rios are over 1000 OPS, with Moustakas and Dyson clearing 900. Cain has smacked 4 dingers and Cain, Morales and Moustakas each have 10 or more RBI. Hosmer, Perez and Escobar have been struggling though, all with sub 700 OPS.

The Tribe staff better do well to avoid Hosmer as he has torn it up to a 429/462/878 line in 52 PA in the twelve games. He has 5 doubles, a triple, and 5 bombs, along with 19 of the Royals 53 RBI. Morales and Gordon both sport OPS close to 900. Colon, Escobar, Dyson, Perez and Rios all have sub 600 OPS however.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Edinson Volquez

R

3.49

3.71

175.1

1.27

6.7

Yordano Ventura

R

4.42

3.85

138.1

1.34

8.5

Danny Duffy

L

4.14

4.59

126.0

1.40

6.2

Johnny Cueto #

R

3.47

3.53

187.0

1.08

7.7

Kris Medlen

R

4.58

4.24

37.1

1.15

7.2

Greg Holland

R

3.64

3.17

42.0

1.38

10.1

Kelvin Herrera

R

2.48

3.52

61.2

1.04

8.3

Franklin Morales

L

0.92

2.12

58.2

0.78

10.3

Wade Davis

R

2.79

3.37

58.0

1.02

5.7

Ryan Madson

R

2.17

3.24

54.2

0.99

8.4

Luke Hochevar

R

3.83

3.95

42.1

1.35

9.1

Chris Young

R

3.19

4.59

110.0

1.13

6.1

Jeremy Guthrie

R

5.67

5.45

139.2

1.54

4.8

Miguel Almonte

R

4.50

6.89

4.0

1.75

11.3

Louis Coleman

R

0.00

4.86

2.1

1.29

3.9

Scott Alexander

L

9.00

2.64

2.0

1.00

4.5

Joba Chamberlain ##

R

5.32

6.02

23.2

1.78

6.5

# includes stats with Reds; ## includes stats with Tigers

Volquez has struggled in the past month. He has a 4.60 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 7.1 K/9 in 29.1 IP but is 2-0 in those 5 starts. He struggled when facing Cleveland May 7, lasting just three innings. But he did only surrender three runs after giving up two hits and six walks. He beat Cody Anderson on July 27 when Anderson imploded for seven runs. Medlen just joined the rotation on August 24 and has been hit very hard in those 4 starts. He has a 5.87 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 6.3 K/9 with 4 homers in 23.0 IP. He was much better against the Twins last time out however. He did pitch 7 shutout innings in a start back in 2013.

Duffy has also struggled lately. He has a 4.55 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in his past 5 starts. He didn't get out of the second inning in a 10-3 loss to the Tribe in May 6. Ventura has had an eventful season. But lately he has fairly lucky. He has a 3.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and an incredible 12.3 K/9. He took the loss on April 29 giving up 5 runs in just over five innings.

The bullpen, the strength of the staff, hasn't been quite as elite lately. In the past two weeks, only Holland, Davis and Coleman haven't given up a run, and that covers just 8 IP. The back end has been very good against the Tribe, but the rest of the pen has been a mixed bag, with Hochever and Morales incurring most of the damage. Both Guthrie and Young, who have been removed from the rotation, have been hit hard by the Tribe batters.

On the Shelf

  • RP Tim Collins [60 day DL], out for season
  • SP Jason Vargas [60 day DL], out for season
  • P Brian Flynn [60 day DL], no timetable for return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

5

7

417

58

56

516

2014

10

9

526

74

76

488

Last 5*

50

42

543

474

411

565

Last 10*

104

79

568

965

810

579

All-Time

328

313

512

2988

2780

533

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: If the Indians hitting stays active against the Royals, every matchup favors the Tribe. I'll predict three of four, but I expect a split, because, you know, Royals.