Three bench clearing incidents since last July, points that these teams aren't on the best of terms. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Our Time, Our New Rival … Cleveland?

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Cleveland.

At the start of the season they were just another team in the AL Central who was young and coming in with raised expectations. The Indians defeated the Royals 8-3 in the home opener dropping the team to 3-4.

But on Saturday night of the opening series, Jonathan Sanchez plunked Shin-Soo Choo sparking the first of two bench emptying moments. The second came in the bottom of the inning when Cleveland retaliated and Jeanmar Gomez hit Mike Moustakas. Jack Hanahan was ejected after getting into the middle of both incidents.

Choo and Sanchez have a history dating back to last year when the Giants and Indians played in interleague. Sanchez hit Choo resulting in him missing significant time, after getting plunked again it set him off and the benches cleared.

Last year the teams did get into a scuffle after Carlos Carrasco felt Melky Cabrera enjoyed his grand slam a little too much. When Billy Butler came up next Carrasco brushed him back which resulted in both benches clearing, so that’s three incidents since July of last season.

Kansas City wound up getting swept by Cleveland but the bad blood seems to be there as the crowds at the K booed Choo and Jack Hannahan the rest of the weekend. It’s hard to call something a rivalry when it’s as one-sided as the opening series. Missouri and Kansas fans can relate depending on the sport.

The Indians have had KC’s number the past couple years winning in various ways from blowouts to getting help from a flock of seagulls.  Both teams have gone opposite directions since they last met in Kansas City.

Cleveland came in blew the doors off the Royals which our boys in blue have yet to recover from wrapping up a 0-10 homestand and losing 11-straight. To be a rivalry the results usually have to be somewhat even right? Tonight at Progressive Field the teams meet again and it’ll be interesting to see how Tribe fans treat KC. I don’t think they’ll boo like at the K. Cleveland has won 7-of-9 since the last time they saw the Royals and are a game out of first place.

Adding to the simmering rivalry, Chris Perez riled up players and fans by declaring it to be Tribe Time not Our Time during the opening series. Perez had previously gotten on my nerves being a Jose Valverde lite but he also seemed to rile up others with his tweet. His words earned him a fine from MLB even.

A change of scenery hopefully helps the Royals after such a rough homestand, but how about having the motivation that the Indians made them look awful and started this losing streak? When Kansas City lands they’ll check in with this losing streak but more importantly I hope they want payback for what Cleveland did to them on the scoreboard.

Both teams are young and on paper should be duking it out for years within the AL Central, but to be a rivalry KC has to win and what better time than tomorrow night.

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Tags: AL Central Billy Butler Carlos Carrasco Chris Perez Cleveland Indians Jack Hannahan Jeanmar Gomez Jonathan Sanchez Jose Valverde Kansas City Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals Melky Cabrera Mike Moustakas MLB Shin-Soo Choo

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