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Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals preview

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We still have to play baseball games? We can’t just fast forward to October?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

I wrote one of these series preview articles last week and it doesn’t seem like much has changed. The Indians still haven’t lost the game and will go for the longest winning streak in MLB history today as they start a new series against the Royals. And I know that some folks will say “but muh 1916 Giants” to which I say “no”. A win streak, by definition, is a consecutive series of games in which the same team is victorious. A win is not merely the absence of a loss; the 1916 Giants, as impressive as they were, had a tie in their streak. 22 is goal, don’t @ me.

Pitching matchups

Thursday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Jakob Junis (RHP) vs. Josh Tomlin (RHP)

Baseball-Reference claims that the Indians have faced rookie Jakob Junis this season, but I don’t believe them. I cannot, for the life of me, remember this player at all. He’s supposedly thrown 74.2 innings for the Royals this season, allowing 36 runs and walking 19 and striking out 67 in the process (good for an ERA+ of 105), but that could’ve fooled me. His most recent start came on September 9 against the Minnesota Twins; in that game, Junis went 6.1 innings and allowed 2 runs on 8 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7.

Logic says that Josh Tomlin should probably not pitch for the Indians in the postseason given the strength of their other pitchers, but in truthiness, he will most likely saddle up for the Tribe come October. In 2017, Tomlin has, in 121 innings, allowed 69 earned runs while walking 13 and striking out 91 (good for an ERA+ of 90). His most recent start came on September 9 against the Baltimore Orioles; in that game, Tomlin went 5.0 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and zero walks while striking out 3. If the Indians are to claim the all-time MLB win streak record, Tomlin will have to continue his recent stretch of solid starting pitching.

Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Jason Vargas (LHP) vs. Trevor Bauer (RHP)

Jason Vargas is wrapping up the best season of his career at the age of 34, so he may give the Indians some trouble on Friday night. Thus far in 2017, Vargas has thrown 158.1 innings and allowed 73 earned runs while walking 47 and striking out 116 (good for an ERA+ of 109). His most recent start came on September 10 against the Minnesota Twins; in that game, Vargas went 5.0 innings and allowed 1 earned run on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3.

Trevor Bauer...oh, I’m sorry. American League wins leader Trevor Bauer takes the mound for the Tribe on Friday night in hopes of continuing the trend of dominant Cleveland starting pitching. In 2017, Bauer has pitched in 158.0 innings and has allowed 76 earned runs while walking 56 and striking out 177 (good for an ERA+ of 107, exactly the mark that he had in 2016). His last start came on September 10 against the Baltimore Orioles; in that game, Bauer went 6.1 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits and 0 walks while striking out 7.

Saturday, 4:10 p.m. ET: Jason Hammel (RHP) vs. Carlos Carrasco (RHP)

Jason Hammel is having a bit of a down year for the Royals this year despite having a solid year for the Cubs (*grumble*) in 2016. This year, Hammel has thrown in 165.0 innings and has allowed 90 earned runs while walking 45 and striking out 132 (good for an ERA+ of 92). His most recent start came on September 11 against the Chicago White Sox; in that game, Hammel went just 3.1 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 10 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7.

Carlos Carrasco continues to be the second ace of the Cleveland Indians, and I yearn for him to pitch in the postseason. Every time he dazzles on the mound this season, I think of what may have been last year if it weren’t for Ian [redacted] Kinsler. Whatever, the 2017 playoffs are calling and Cookie is ready to go. In 2017, Carrasco has pitched in 179.1 innings and has allowed 68 earned runs while walking 41 and striking out 201 (good for an ERA+ of 135). His most recent start came on September 11 against the Detroit Tigers; in that game, Carrasco went 6.0 innings of shutout baseball, allowing 7 hits and walking 1 while striking out 9 (none of which were Ian Kinsler).

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Corey Kluber (RHP)

I’m no expert, but I think that the Royals are just not going to show up on Sunday since they see that they will be expected to face Cy Young front-runner Corey Kluber. Kluber is in the midst of what could be argued as his best season ever. He’s pitched in 184.2 innings (low for him due to injury) and allowed just 50 earned runs while walking 34 and striking out 243 (good for an ERA+ of 189, the highest mark in his career). His most recent start came on September 12 against the Detroit Tigers; in this game, Kluber pitched his fifth complete game of the season (third CGSO), limiting the Tigers to just 5 hits while he walked no one and struck out 8 (no double digits? #scrub).

Kansas City Royals roster

FanGraphs

Poll

Will the Cleveland Indians clinch the AL Central during this series?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Yes
    (202 votes)
  • 5%
    No
    (15 votes)
  • 17%
    Where are my free windows?
    (46 votes)
263 votes total Vote Now