The Cleveland Indians are ready to finish out their 10 game home stand with a three game series against the Kansas City Royals.
The Indians rebounded quite nicely after a less than stellar start to the second half. A four game sweep of the Detroit Tigers has Cleveland only four games back of the division leading Minnesota Twins. A series with yet another division rival in the Kansas City Royals.
The last time the Indians and Royals met was before the All-Star break. Cleveland swept Kansas City in three games on the road and outscored the Royals 21-9. The Tribe won two out of three games against Kansas City the last time they. came to Cleveland. This of course was highlighted by the blown save by closer Brad Hand. Outside of that one outing Cleveland was clearly the better team in that matchup.
Royals against Cleveland’s pitching staff
The Indians will feature Shane Bieber, Adam Plutko and Zach Plesac as their starters this weekend.
There have been two players that have given Bieber headaches in the past. Lucas Duda and Whit Merrifield. Duda is 3-7 with two doubles, one home and four RBI’s. Merrifield is 3-9 with one home run, one double and also four runs driven in. Bieber will need to reverse the trends here to ensure that he can give Cleveland a win in Game 1.
Adam Plutko does not have an extensive history against the Royals and he has pitched well. The only problem is that Plutko has got rocked recently, giving up 10 runs in the last 10 innings. Plutko will probably not continue his previous success against Kansas City and the Royals may be able to put up some runs against someone who pitches to contact.
Zach Plesac has one start against Kansas City and it did not go all that well. Three runs came across to score (two earned) while giving up two this and walking three in just 2.2 innings of work. Things will need to change big time if Plesac is going to pitch the Indians to victory.
Indians against Kansas City’s pitching staff
Mike Montgomery, Jakob Junis and Glenn Sparkman will start for the Royals this weekend. Junis is the only pitcher with a lengthy track record against the Indians as Montgomery spent some time with Cubs and Sparkman has only been in Kansas City since 2018.
There is only one player in the Cleveland lineup with an extra-base hit against Mike Montgomery and that is Francisco Lindor. The only other players to collect a hit against the former Cub are Greg Allen, Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis. Cleveland will need to perform much better against Montgomery than they have previously in order to put up some runs.
The Indians as a team have hit against Jakob Junis have hit quite well, slashing .356/.405/.577 with an OPS of .982. This includes eight doubles, five home runs and 20 runs driven in. The Tribe have also walked seven times against Junis. Cleveland may be able to continue their hot hitting ways against Junis on Saturday.
Glenn Sparkamn only has a little bit of experience facing the Indians hitters. Sparkman has given up three home runs and two doubles in 29 at-bats. The home runs come from some surprising sources being Mike Freeman, Tyler Naquin and Roberto Perez. While Sparkman pitched a complete game shutout against the White Sox in his last start he did give up 17 runs in his previous 14.2 innings before that start. Seven home runs did a lot of damage against Sparkman and Cleveland may be able to get to someone who is susceptible to giving up the long ball.