Pregame Notes: Cleveland Indians look to win rubber match in Kansas City

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Winners of five of their last seven, the Cleveland Indians saw their three-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Kansas City Royals last night. Now just 1.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers for third place in the division, the recent struggles of the AL Central — with the exception of the Minnesota Twins — has lessened the impact of a disastrous April for the Indians.

Looking to give the Tribe a series win and push the Indians one game closer to the Royals in the division standings tonight is Trevor Bauer. Bauer earned a tough loss in his last outing after allowing two runs with 10 strikeouts across seven innings in Seattle. He enters the night cap with 31 strikeouts in his last four starts and a 1.53 ERA. He has thrown at least seven innings in each of those starts while allowing no more than two runs.

Bauer earned a no decision in his start against the Royals, allowing three earned runs in six innings of work. He is 4-2 on the season while posting a consistently dominate 2.97 ERA.

Opposite Bauer is Chris Young, who has been surprisingly proficient through two months of this season. Young is 4-1 this season with a 1.55 ERA, but the big right-hander is coming off a tough loss to the Yankees last week. In that meeting, Young allowed two home runs and four runs in a 4-2 loss. He has thrown 3.1 innings in relief against the Tribe thus far this season without allowing a run and surrendering just one hit.

Those numbers are far and away the best of his long big league career, so it’s only a matter of time before they come tumbling down. The Tribe only hopes that luck has worn thin as of tonight.

Here are the starting lineups:

Roberto Perez assumes the catching duties tonight while Yan Gomes, who has struggled mightily since his return from the disabled list, gets the day off.

News & Notes:

-Bauer has been dynamite no matter where he has pitched this season, but the hard-throwing right-hander has been absolutely unhittable on the road. In 27.1 innings of work, Bauer has posted a 0.99 ERA.

-While he clearly didn’t have his best stuff in last night’s loss, Corey Kluber became the first pitcher in baseball to reach 100 strikeouts this season when he fanned Drew Butera with an 0-2 cutter. Kluber is the fastest Indians’ pitcher since Sam McDowell in 1970 to reach 100 strikeouts and he’s posting 11.27 K/9. His 31.2 swing and miss percentage in fourth in baseball while his 7.38 K/BB ratio is good for fifth in the bigs. Impressive stuff for the Tribe’s ace.

-The Cleveland Cavaliers tip off the NBA Finals in Golden State tonight at 9:00 p.m. on ABC and Slider, the Tribe’s beloved mascot, ventured across the plaza for a “good luck” pose in front of the oversized LeBron banner.

Next: AL Central struggles have Tribe still within striking distance

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