Series Preview: Kansas City Royals At Cleveland Indians

Four more games on the road this year. Four more days away from their families and their homes. The Royals have had their struggles on the road this year, especially within their own division. The Royals have seven more divisional games this year, beginning with these four games in Cleveland. If the Royals split the series or better, they will be able to stay out of the cellar for a little while longer. If the Royals sweep, that all but guarantees it.

Game 1: Sean O’Sullivan (2-6) vs. Mitch Talbot (9-12)

Sean’s last start was against Cleveland, and it wasn’t a pretty one. He lasted only four innings and gave up five earned runs. The likelihood of this current Royal making the team next year is growing slimmer and slimmer. He was a high draft pick but has yet to produce a start good enough to notch a win since being traded from the Angels.

Mitch Talbot is coming off a shoulder injury and is projected to be on the mound for the Indians after having a solid bullpen session earlier in the week. This season he is 0-1 versus the Royals. In his combined starts he has pitched 10.2 innings while giving up 16 hits, seven walks and eight earned runs. The Royals need to get after him early like they did last month when he lasted only 4.2 innings while giving up eight hits and three runs (2 of them earned).

Game 2: Luke Hochevar (6-5) vs. Josh Tomlin (4-4)

In his late season comeback, Hochevar is looking forward to getting back-to-back wins versus the same team. In his last start, he pitched six solid innings while defeating the Indians 6-4. He struck out five while walking only one. Another solid performance against Cleveland would go a long way in showing that he is back and ready to go strong into the off-season. Furthermore, this would show that he can contend for a spot in the rotation next season.

Josh Tomlin faced Hochevar in his last start and was on the receiving end of a six-hit, six-run shelling in only five innings of work. Three of the Royals’ hits went for extra bases, and they also used their speed to their advantage early against Tomlin. Overall this season Tomlin is 1-1 against the Royals. In his lone win he only gave up three runs in five innings. The biggest difference between these two starts was that he was leaving pitches over the meat part of the plate, and you can’t do that and expect to last long.

Game 3: Zack Greinke (9-13) vs. Jeanmar Gomez (3-5)

After losing to Detroit on Monday, it is a lock that Greinke, the Cy Young winner from a year ago, will finish with a sub-.500 record for this season. The good news is he still has at least two more chances of cracking into double digits in wins before this season ends. He has notched two wins against the Tribe this year and pitched a remarkable game back on Aug. 28 that resulted in a no decision. In that start he went eight innings and gave up three earned runs. A win on Saturday will put him into double digit wins for a second consecutive year.

Game 4: Bruce Chen (11-7) vs. Fausto Carmona (12-14)

Bruce Chen has a shot at getting into the teens in the win column by the end of this year. That hasn’t been possible in a long time. Three of his wins so far this year have come against Cleveland. His last start against them was probably the most impressive appearance though. He went six strong innings and only gave up two earned runs while striking out four.

In his last three starts, Carmona is averaging eight innings of work. Despite pitching that well and that deep into ball games, he only has one win to show for it. This season he is 1-2 versus the boys in blue. He has pitched 16.2 innings, giving up twenty hits, seven walks and ten earned runs. He would like to join a lot of other pitchers by sneaking into the teens in wins for the season. However, Kansas City hitters should be able to remind him quickly of those two losses he suffered in August.


These two teams do not want to finish in the cellar. Unfortunately for one of them that is where they will end up when the season ends. Both teams have been streaky hitters all season but the Royals as a team have hit for a better average. In fact, going into this series the Royals are hitting thirty points better than the Indians.


These two teams both have committed over 100 errors this season. Cleveland, however, has managed to turn an American League leading 171 double plays. This is 39 more than the Royals have converted this year. If the Royals want to score they will need to steal bases to avoid the double play ball.


With the exception of O’Sullivan, the Royals’ pitchers in this series seem to have been throwing well so far in September. However, there are advantages and disadvantages of facing the same opponents in back-to-back weekends. Both teams will have a firm grasp on what each side will be throwing at them and what those throws are going to be like.


Both teams are traveling to Cleveland, and neither team has a day off to recoup before playing. Cleveland has lost four in a row while the Royals lost 2 out of three to Detroit and Cleveland. Bragging rights and pride are on the line this weekend. No one wants to be at the bottom of their division, and the team that wins this series won’t be.

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