The Kansas City Royals travel to Progressive Field to start a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Friday. After dropping two of three games against the Yankees, the Royals are looking to crawl out of the basement of the AL Central against their division rival this weekend. The Indians have won 4 of their last 6 games, having gained momentum after sweeping the Houston Astros, the team with the best record in the American League.
Ian Kennedy vs. Mike Clevinger
Ian Kennedy had a rough start on Sunday after his return from the DL. In the second game of the doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, he only struck out one batter, allowing five runs on three hits. Kennedy has had a real lack of run support, which accounts mostly for his 0-4 record. His ERA was solid, up until his last outing when it rose to 4.06. Hopefully, he can bounce back on Friday and attribute the bad performance to being rusty.
Clevinger gave the Royals offense fits last time he faced them. He shut them out over 5.2 innings, giving up only one hit and walking four. In his last outing against the Astros, Clevinger pitched yet another gem, giving up zero runs and two hits over seven innings. His record on the season is 2-1 with an impressive 1.56 ERA.
Jason Vargas vs. Danny Salazar
Vargas has been a very pleasant surprise for the Royals this year. He has a 5-3 record with a 2.30 ERA, striking out 49 batters so far this season. The Yankees, however, gave him some problems in his last two outings, scoring nine runs through 10 innings of work. The veteran left-hander will look to bounce back on Saturday opposite pitcher Danny Salazar.
Salazar has had his fair share of struggles this season. With a 3-4 record and a 5.55 ERA, the right-hander has definitely underachieved compared to his career numbers. Indians Manager Terry Francona certainly expects more from the right-hander. Reports quoted him as saying, “We set up a high bar for Danny because of his stuff. I just know that there’s more in there and we want him to reach that level so bad.”
Danny Duffy vs. Josh Tomlin
The ace of the Royals’ staff, Duffy has pitched exceptionally so far this season. In his last outing against the Yankees, he struck out seven, allowing two runs on six hits in Tuesday’s win. Over his last four starts, Duffy has a 1.63 ERA and an 8.1 K/9. He proves time and time again to be the most reliable pitcher in the rotation, and Sunday should be no different for the left-hander.
Josh Tomlin has struggled over his last two outings. He got pulled in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays after giving up six runs, then gave up 5 runs over six innings in his next start against the Cincinnati Reds. His 2-6 record with a 6.70 ERA certainly leaves something to be desired as Terry Francona hopes he can turn it around against Kansas City this weekend.
The Indian placed outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall on the 7-day concussion DL on May 23rd.
The Royals have reinstated Alex Gordon from the paternity list after the birth of his daughter and have placed pitcher Nate Karns on the 10-day DL with a right elbow injury.