The Cleveland Indians have finally shaken off their early-season struggles. They are winners in 10 of their last 13 games and look to put aside their ineffectiveness against division opponents as they head to Kansas City to take on the Royals in Kauffman Stadium.
After jumping out to a quick start, the Royals have stumbled a bit with four losses in their last five games. The team has fallen out of first place, succumbing to the surging – and surprising – Minnesota Twins.
Coming off a day of rest, the Tribe aims to prolong the Royals’ funk and avoid a setback of their own in what Sports Illustrated has deemed one of the most must-see series in baseball this week.
Carlos Carrasco takes the ball for the Tribe with the hope of continuing his most recent hot streak. Carrasco has gone 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts across his past two outings. He allowed one run while whiffing eight in eight innings against the Rangers. The young right-hander won his only other start in Kansas City back on May 6, allowing three earned runs over seven innings of work.
Opposite Carrasco is Royals’ right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who is coming off a historically poor performance against New York in his last start. The veteran righty was tagged for 11 runs in one inning pitched, allowing four round-trippers in limited work. He brings an inflated 6.70 ERA into tonight’s match-up. Guthrie was hit for four earned runs in his five-inning start in Cleveland back on April 28.
Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:
Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .368 (7-for-19) against the Royals.
News & Notes:
–According to the rest-of-season projections compiled by FanGraphs, the Cleveland Indians are expected to be the AL’s best team for the rest of the season. Now sitting at 24-26, the Tribe is projected to post a 60-52 (.534 winning percentage) through their remaining games and finish tied with the Detroit Tigers for second place in the AL Central.
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-The MLB Draft is fast approaching and, according to Lindsey Foltin of FOX Sports, the Tribe has their sights set on taking Chris Betts, a power-hitting catcher from California, with the No. 17 overall pick. The Tribe has reportedly been linked to Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi, Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ, Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman, Vanderbilt right-hander Walker Buehler and Virginia lefty Nathan Kirby, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
-Despite clearly being the best second baseman in the American League, Jason Kipnis came in at No. 4 at his position in the most recent count of All Star Game votes. Kipnis is hitting .340/.411/.529 with five home runs and five stolen bases and he’s coming off a historic May – yet, he’s in danger of not getting the start due to fan votes. According to Katrina Putnam at Wahoos on First, something has got to give. If home field advantage in the World Series is decided by the All-Star Game, the leagues should be more inclined to field their most prolific players.