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Series Preview: Indians at Royals

Whit Merrifield faces his future team

Cincinnati Reds v Kansas City Royals - Game One Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With the 4 p.m. trade deadline looming, there’s a chance these two teams will look very different between the time of this post and the start of tonight’s series opener.

Mike Clevinger is currently slated to start the second game of the series tomorrow, but will he be dealt to the Padres or somewhere else? Will the Indians get a new bat? Will the Royals cash in Whit Merrifield’s versatility for a bunch of prospects?

There are a lot of things that can happen.

As for the series itself, it is clearly one of those the Indians should win. The Royals are still deep into their rebuild and are one of the worst teams in baseball. Their batters have a combined 94 wRC+, which is still better than the awful Indians offense, but also 21st in MLB. Unlike the Indians — whose pitching staff has the second-best 2.88 ERA — the Royals don’t have a string of All-Stars taking the mound every night. Instead they have seen their starters pitch for a combined 4.89 ERA.

These two teams haven’t played since the opening series in late July, where the Indians took two of three and outscored the Royals 13-5.

Team in a box

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record 18-39
Record 18-39
Runs Scored 202
Runs Allowed 286
Run Differential -84
Last 10 4-6
AVG .218
OBP .282
SLG .349
OPS .631
wRC+ 71
ERA 4.71
SIERA 4.48
K-BB% 13.2%

Projected starters

Monday, Aug. 31, 8:05 p.m. ET: RHP Brad Keller vs. Shane Bieber
Brad Keller may not have a sky-high strikeout rate, and he may also walk too many batters, but when you don’t allow a single home run over 21.2 innings, something must be working. For the 25-year-old former eighth-round pick, his 2020 success has come from his slider, which ranks among the best in baseball according to FanGraphs’ pitch values. He’s used it just as much as his fastball this season and he didn’t allow a single run through his first three starts. His last outing against the Cardinals was rough — five runs over four innings — but still no balls left the yard.

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 8:05 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Mike Clevinger
TBD will take the mound once again. He features nothing and is nothing.

Wednesday, Sept. 2, 8:05 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Triston McKenzie
Starting back-to-back games should be outlawed, but these monsters in Kansas City don’t even care if they rip this poor kid’s arm off in their pursuit of a fifth-place finish in the AL Central.

Lineup highligh

Whit Merrifield, 2B - Will 31-year-old Whit Merrifield even be on the team by this evening? Probably, despite the fact that the Royals won’t be competitive by the time he’s a free agent. They seem intent to sit on Merrifield to, I don’t know, bring in the fans that can’t come to stadiums I guess? The versatile outfielder is slashing .296/.356/.511 this season for a 132 wRC+ — a career-best if he can hold it over the whole 60 games.

Royals roster


How many games will the Indians win against the Royals?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    (51 votes)
  • 46%
    (50 votes)
  • 3%
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    (3 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now