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Series preview: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals

The 2016 season is coming to a close.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The American League Central is clinched, and the Kansas City Royals are eliminated. It's hard to muster up a whole lot of excitement for this series with the playoffs right around the corner, but the Cleveland Indians could always hope to finish strong with a nice sweep of the former World Series champions.

Pitching matchups

  • Friday, 8:15 p.m. ET: Ryan Merritt (LHP) vs. Yordano Ventura (RHP)
  • Saturday, 4:15 p.m. ET: Trevor Bauer (RHP) vs. Edinson Volquez (RHP)
  • Sunday, 3:15 p.m. ET: Josh Tomlin (RHP) vs. Ian Kennedy (RHP)

Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin are the Indians' No. 2 and No. 3 starters, respectively. That's a reality we are going to have to live with. This will be their last audition before the playoffs when Bauer potentially starts Game 1 of the ALDS, or Game 2 if Corey Kluber is ready to go from his strained groin. This will be Ryan Merritt's first career start and just his fourth appearance this season. In six relief innings, the 24-year-old has allowed one earned run off of three hits with two strikeouts and no walks.

On the Royals side of things, all three pitchers have been tremendous disappointments in 2016. The best of this trio is Ian Kennedy, who has a 3.69 ERA and a 4.63 FIP in 32 starts this season. He also leads all Kansas City pitchers with 188.0 innings pitched.

Upcoming schedule

Playoffs! The Indians might also have to make up Thursday's game on Monday if it would end up being important.

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Kansas City Royals roster