|Indians aiming to get back on track vs. Royals|
The Cleveland Indians endured nearly 3 1/4 hours of rain delays before being swept away in their last contest while the Kansas City Royals played just 12 minutes before falling in their last outing.
The Indians look to put a halt to their sudden swoon on Friday when they play the opener of a three-game series against the Royals in Cleveland.
Cleveland collected just two hits en route to being shut out for the 11th time this season on Thursday in a 2-0 setback over a rain-shortened eight innings to the New York Mets.
"We had higher hopes than this," second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "These were not the results we were hoping for. It doesn't stop us from what we want to accomplish. We still have enough time left. But we didn't do ourselves any favors."
Two errors on one sequence in the seventh inning also didn't help matters for the Indians, or the eight they committed during their seven-game stay in New York against the Yankees and Mets. Cleveland went 2-5 in that stretch and has lost seven of nine overall to fall 3 1/2 games behind first-place Minnesota in the American League Central.
"It's disappointing. These are good teams, but we're a good team, too," outfielder Tyler Naquin said. "... We're the same team. Still playing good baseball. We just have to turn it around a little bit."
Yasiel Puig was responsible for one of the errors on Thursday after his throw to third base was off-line. The recent trade acquisition has also cooled off with the bat, going 0-for-15 with five strikeouts over his last four games.
Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana haven't been shy at the plate in the season series against Kansas City.
Lindor is 26-for-62 with three homers, eight RBIs and 14 runs scored versus the Royals this season. He is 15-for-29 with three homers and 10 RBIs against Friday starter Jakob Junis (8-11, 4.78 ERA).
Santana, who is 6-for-13 versus the right-hander, has 14 hits against Kansas City in 2019.
While Cleveland had plenty of time to watch the rain on Thursday, the Royals didn't have enough time to break a sweat in their contest earlier in the afternoon. They dropped a 5-4 setback against Boston in the completion of a suspended game.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost wasn't particularly thrilled with having his team fly into Boston for what amounted to be a cameo appearance on what initially was scheduled as an off day.
"I don't think there really was another solution," Yost said. "The only other solution for me was to play it after the season ended, and that would make more sense to me rather than have to disrupt them flying cross-country and us flying, and not having off-days."
Junis will attempt to work at least six innings for the ninth straight time when he takes the ball for the series opener. He worked 6 1/3 frames in a 4-1 setback to the Mets on Saturday.
The 26-year-old went 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA in four meetings with the Indians this season to fall to 3-5 with a 6.05 ERA in 11 career encounters (10 starts) against the club.
Cleveland rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (6-4, 3.53) will supply the opposition in the series opener as he aims to rebound from a three-homer performance in a 6-5 loss against the Yankees.
Plesac posted a pair of wins versus Kansas City last month, allowing a total of three runs (two earned) and 10 hits in 13 innings.
--Field Level Media