|CLEVELAND ( KAZMIR )|
KANSAS CITY ( SHIELDS )
|917||CLEVELAND||+145||Ov 8,-105||+135||Ov 7.5,+105|
|918||KANSAS CITY||-155||Un 8,-115||-145||Un 7.5,-125|
|vs Right-handed Starters||52-48||+4.8||40-55||4.3||0.245||0.317||4.2||0.253||0.324|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+3||4-2||5.9||0.272||0.346||3.0||0.270||0.318|
|vs Left-handed Starters||21-23||-4.8||14-29||3.7||0.246||0.294||3.7||0.238||0.295|
|Past 7 Games||4-3||+1.2||2-4||3.7||0.276||0.322||2.9||0.238||0.258|
|9/6/2013||KAZMIR(L)||NY METS||WHEELER(R)||8-1||W||-165||8 ov||O||10||8||1||7||5||1|
|9/7/2013||KLUBER(R)||NY METS||NIESE(L)||9-4||W||-165||8 ov||O||11||5||0||8||4||1|
|9/8/2013||SALAZAR(R)||NY METS||MATSUZAKA(R)||1-2||L||-250||8.5 ev||U||5||8||0||8||10||0|
|9/9/2013||JIMENEZ(R)||KANSAS CITY||SANTANA(R)||4-3||W||+100||7.5 ev||U||5||0||1||10||7||1|
|9/10/2013||MCALLISTER(R)||KANSAS CITY||GUTHRIE(R)||3-6||L||-115||9 un||P||12||6||1||11||9||0|
|9/11/2013||KAZMIR(L)||KANSAS CITY||SHIELDS(R)||2-6||L||+105||7.5 ov||O||4||5||2||11||6||2|
|9/12/2013||KLUBER(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||DANKS(L)||14-3||W||-125||8.5 un||O||16||11||1||9||9||3|
|9/13/2013||SALAZAR(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||SANTIAGO(L)||3-1||W||-135||8 ev||U||7||8||1||9||13||0|
|9/14/2013||JIMENEZ(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||RIENZO(R)||8-1||W||-155||8.5 un||O||11||9||0||9||8||0|
|9/15/2013||MCALLISTER(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||SALE(L)||7-1||W||115||7.5 un||O||10||7||0||7||6||0|
|9/16/2013||KAZMIR(L)||@ KANSAS CITY||SHIELDS(R)|| |
|9/17/2013||KLUBER(R)||@ KANSAS CITY||DUFFY(L)|| |
|9/18/2013||SALAZAR(R)||@ KANSAS CITY||CHEN(L)|| |
|9/9/2013||SANTANA(R)||@ CLEVELAND||JIMENEZ(R)||3-4||L||-110||7.5 ev||U||10||7||1||5||0||1|
|9/10/2013||GUTHRIE(R)||@ CLEVELAND||MCALLISTER(R)||6-3||W||105||9 un||P||11||9||0||12||6||1|
|9/11/2013||SHIELDS(R)||@ CLEVELAND||KAZMIR(L)||6-2||W||-115||7.5 ov||O||11||6||2||4||5||2|
|9/13/2013||CHEN(L)||@ DETROIT||VERLANDER(R)||3-6||L||155||7.5 un||O||10||8||1||7||3||0|
|9/14/2013||SANTANA(R)||@ DETROIT||FISTER(R)||1-0||W||115||7.5 un||U||8||8||0||7||7||0|
|9/15/2013||GUTHRIE(R)||@ DETROIT||SCHERZER(R)||2-3||L||175||8 un||U||6||4||0||13||10||0|
|9/23/2013|| ||@ SEATTLE|| || |
|CLEVELAND: HITTING: SS ASDRUBAL CABRERA's reinvented swing, modeled after Ben Zobrist, likely led to his power surge. OF GRADY SIZEMORE is back on a one-year deal, so he has plenty of financial incentive to stay healthy. But he will begin the season on the DL after back surgery. OF SHELLEY DUNCAN is expected to get more playing time in replacing Sizemore, but speedy OF EZEQUIEL CARRERA is also waiting for his shot. Injuries and off-the-field issues spoiled OF SHIN SOO-CHOO's 2011, but there's a good chance he bounces back . . . OF MICHAEL BRANTLEY does everything well enough to get a regular gig in center. C CARLOS SANTANA is developing into a middle-of-the-order run producer. DH TRAVIS HAFNER can't be trusted to stay healthy or to produce power numbers. After another down year, 1B MATT LaPORTA will have to sit and watch CASEY KOTCHMAN start at first more often than not. 3B LONNIE CHISENHALL will get his chance to play every day, but dwindling production the past two years is a concern. 2B JASON KIPNIS will get first crack at second base. He's got nice pop for a middle infielder. |
STARTING PITCHING: JUSTIN MASTERSON's strikeout rate continues to decline, and he still gets hit hard by lefties. Still, his strong groundball rate guarantees he's a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm at worst. His velocity dropped last year, and there's no telling if UBALDO JIMENEZ will ever regain his early 2010 form. He's the definition of high-risk, high-reward. DEREK LOWE was a decent middle-of-the-rotation arm in the National League, but now he must adjust to facing superior A.L. lineups . . . Healthy again, JOSH TOMLIN will remain in the rotation. He's hittable, throwing strikes and relying on his defense. Former Twins hurler KEVIN SLOWEY rounds out the staff. Although he posted a 6.67 ERA last year, Slowey has exhibited pinpoint control in his career with just 84 walks in 532.2 innings, tallying a .470 K-to-BB ratio. JEANMAR GOMEZ is a decent minor league arm, but his ceiling is low (long term and in the immediate future). CARLOS CARRASCO may not pitch in the bigs this year after Tommy John surgery.
RELIEF PITCHING: CHRIS PEREZ is entrenched as the closer, but he was a bit of a disappointment last season. His velocity dropped slightly, and his strikeout rate fell off a cliff. If Perez gets hurt, VINNIE PESTANO is next in line for saves. He may be undersized, but his stuff is overpowering. TONY SIPP proved he can get out righties too, but his value is as a lefty-on-lefty guy. Ditto for sidearmer JOE SMITH, who is deadly on righties. But it would be a surprise if he shut down lefties for a second straight year. RAFAEL PEREZ has been hampered by shoulder soreness in Spring Training, but the lefty should once again be serviceable in the late innings this year.
|KANSAS CITY: HITTING: With Melky Cabrera gone, OF LORENZO CAIN will get first crack at leadoff and centerfield. If he falters, speedster JASON BOURGEOIS, vet MITCH MAIER and prospect WIL MYERS are waiting. Former Brewer YUNIESKY BETANCOURT will start at 2B and has good life in his bat for a middle infielder. OF ALEX GORDON may not hit for average, but his approach and power are there. DH BILLY BUTLER is rock solid, but it's fair to wonder whether his power will ever progress. 1B ERIC HOSMER has MVP-type upside, and he's on the verge of figuring out MLB pitching. OF JEFF FRANCOEUR still chases too many bad pitches, but the organization likes him and he still has some pop and speed. 3B MIKE MOUSTAKAS is too good for the minors, but he still hasn't caught up to major-league pitching. There's a good chance he finds his groove this year. C HUMBERTO QUINTERO will be the main backstop with BRAYAN PENA backing him up. Speedy SS ALCIDES ESCOBAR's bat hasn't caught up to his glove. |
STARTING PITCHING: K.C. once again hopes this is the year LUKE HOCHEVAR puts it all together. His velocity picked up late last year, allowing him to be more than a groundball guy. Lefty BRUCE CHEN's late-career renaissance continues. He'll be a reliable veteran arm in the middle of K.C.'s rotation again. FELIPE PAULINO has the biggest upside in this rotation. He's always had one of MLB's best fastballs. His problem was that, when he missed (which has been often), it was usually belt-high and over the middle of the plate. If he hits his spots as he did late last year, he's got potential. But Paulino will start the season on the DL with a sore elbow. The Royals hope to solve JONATHAN SANCHEZ's command issues. The lefty is a risk, but has legitimate No. 3 potential. Top prospect DANNY DUFFY will get every chance to pitch his way into the Opening Day rotation.
RELIEF PITCHING: JOAKIM SORIA is out for the season with Tommy John surgery, leaving GREG HOLLAND to pick up closer duties. Holland was the Royals' best bullpen arm in 2011 and his stuff has always been nearly unhittable. It's just a matter of whether last year's vastly improved walk rate was for real. JONATHAN BROXTON was a disaster last season, but he'll be given every chance to become the No. 2 guy in this bullpen because of his experience in Los Angeles. AARON CROW was a first-round pick (twice) for his college career as a starter, but wore down late last year, and walked too many batters.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER AL PREVIEW (CLEVELAND-KANSAS CITY) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(CORRECTS Rays-Rangers series to four games in fourth graf.)
*Indians-Royals Preview* ========================
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer
Cleveland (80-68) at Kansas City (78-70), 8:10 p.m. EDT
Extending their winning streak would put the Cleveland Indians in playoff position.
The Kansas City Royals have a lot more work to do.
Nick Swisher and the Indians attempt to grab the AL's second wild-card spot Monday night and further damage the Royals' chances in the opener of a three-game series with major postseason implications.
Cleveland (81-68) is one-half game behind Tampa Bay and Texas in the wild-card race with 13 to play. A victory Monday will assure the Indians of taking the second position since the Rays are hosting the Rangers for a four-game series.
They continued their surge towards their first playoff berth since 2007, winning 7-1 to complete a four-game series sweep of the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
"The way things are kind of going down the stretch, you've got to step your game up in situations like this," Swisher said. "Seasons like this don't come around very often. We have a chance to make it into the playoffs and that's what we're doing."
Swisher is making a major impact, hitting .324 with five homers and 11 RBIs in the past nine games, with Cleveland winning seven. He came up big again Sunday, homering from both sides of the plate for the 13th time to tie the major league record also held by former New York Yankees teammate Mark Teixeira.
"It's pretty cool having a major league record for something," Swisher said. "I don't care what it's for. Just to have that especially to share that with my boy Mark Teixeira who I love dearly, it's just crazy."
Swisher is 2 for 22 with seven strikeouts over his last six meetings against the Royals (78-71), including 1 for 7 in two games last week when the Indians dropped two of three at home to Kansas City.
One of those defeats - 6-2 in the series finale Wednesday - came against Royals starter James Shields (11-9, 3.38 ERA), who allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.45 ERA over his last seven starts, but he owns a 1.24 ERA while limiting opponents to .167 at the plate during those victories.
Beating the Indians again would also help the Royals cut into the 3 1/2-game gap on Tampa Bay and Texas in the crowded wild-card chase. However, they also have Baltimore and the New York Yankees one game ahead of them.
"The excitement is there," Shields told the team's official website. "We're exactly where we wanted to be at the end of the season. We would like to have the lead in the division, but it is what it is. We're here now, and we're playing and we're fighting for a playoff spot."
Kansas City, though, failed to gain ground in the playoff race, losing two of three at AL Central-leading Detroit after falling 3-2 on Sunday.
Alex Gordon hit a solo homer for one of his two hits in the series finale, and he's batting .349 with four homers, seven RBIs and 10 runs during a 10-game hitting streak. That includes hitting two homers among his four hits versus the Indians last week while adding five runs and three RBIs.
Gordon is 8 for 23 (.348) with two homers and six RBIs in six season meetings at Kauffman Stadium. He's doubled and homered on four hits this year versus scheduled starter Scott Kazmir.
Kazmir (8-8, 4.24) is 1-4 with a 5.59 ERA in six starts after allowing four runs and a homer to Gordon in four innings opposite Shields on Wednesday.
|Last Updated: 9/18/2014 2:42:22 AM EST|