American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 26
(All times eastern)
Cleveland Indians (51-52) at Kansas City Royals (52-50), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Zach McAllister (3-5, 5.28)
Kansas City - Jeremy Guthrie (5-9, 4.56)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals eye their fifth win in a row on
Saturday as they host the Cleveland Indians in the third test of a four game
series at Kauffman Stadium.
While the Tampa Bay Rays are hitting all the right marks during an eight-game
win streak right now, the Royals have used their four-game run to ascend into
second place in the American League Central Division, but they are still six
games out of first, representing the largest difference between the top two
spots across baseball.
Yesterday the Royals took advantage of home runs by Salvador Perez, Mike
Moustakas and Billy Butler to capture a 6-4 victory versus visiting Cleveland.
Perez accounted for three of the team's 10 hits and scored twice, while Raul
Ibanez tallied a couple of hits as well, included the second triple of the
season for the 42-year old.
"Billy's one of those guys that was born to hit, and he's always going to hit,
and you never count guys like that out," Ibanez said of Butler. "You know that
eventually he's going to get hot and do what he's capable of doing what he
Yordano Ventura made the start for the Royals on the hill, but he did not
factor into the decision after permitting three earned runs on six hits,
striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings. Instead, Kelvin Herrera notched his
second victory of 2014 after pitching the eighth, with the save going to Aaron
Crow, his second.
Also not around long enough to earn a decision either way was Cleveland
starter Josh Tomlin who, like Ventura, was touched for a pair of home runs and
three earned runs. Tomlin, who has now surrendered 16 home runs in 15 outings,
gave up seven hits and fanned five in 5 1/3 innings.
"It's a problem that needs to be solved," said Tomlin of the home run balls he
has served up. "I have to do a better job of working on it and seeing what
pitches they're doing that to, and seeing what I'm doing mechanically to make
those balls stay over the middle of the plate."
Carlos Santana stroked two home runs for the Indians, driving in three and
scoring twice, while David Murphy accounted for another three hits for a
Cleveland squad that is one game below .500 on the season, but still third in
the division standings at the moment.
Winless since last facing off against Kansas City back on April 21, Zach
McAllister has been penciled in as the starter for the Indians tonight.
The right-hander, who has bowed in five of his last eight appearances since
defeating the Royals more than three months ago, was on the hill last week at
this time against Detroit and failed to register a decision, even as Cleveland
came out on top in a 5-2 final.
McAllister made it through 5 1/3 innings, permitting just a single run on
three hits and as many walks, while striking out six.
For his career, one that has stretched four years at the major league level,
McAllister as a mark of 2-2 with a 4.94 ERA in four meetings with KC.
Also having a tough time finding his way back into the win column is KC
starter Jeremy Guthrie. While his drought has not been nearly as long as that
of McAllister, Guthrie has come up empty since June 23rd's triumph over the
Los Angeles Dodger. Guthrie has fallen in three straight decisions.
The most recent outing for the right-hander out of Stanford took place on
Monday when he lasted six innings versus the Chicago White Sox, giving up
three runs on five hits and three walks. Guthrie, who has a career mark of 4-5
versus the Tribe, managed to strike out five Sox.
Kansas City hitters are third in the AL in combined batting with a .263
average, yet the squad is the weakest in all of baseball when it comes to home
runs, producing a mere 60 through the first 102 games.
07/26 10:20:41 ET