After losing two-of-three against the Tigers in Detroit, the Royals return home for their final homestand of 2013. Kansas City faces Cleveland and Texas who they trail in the wildcard standings this week starting tonight at the K.
With this being the final series between the Tribe and Royals we thought it was appropriate to check in with Brian Heise of Wahoo’s on First for a series Q&A.
Kings of Kauffman – What’s the difference between the Indians and Royals this season? And do you think it’s been the success against the White Sox?
Wahoo’s on First – It’s hard to say for sure. Yes, we’ve been good against the White Sox but we’ve balanced it out by being absolutely awful against the Tigers. And honestly, the Indians and Royals are separated by only three games. That tells me we have a lot more in common than not. If I had to give the Royals an edge in any area it would be with James Shields at the top of the rotation and Greg Holland at the back of the bullpen. On the flip side, I’d take Terry Francona in a landslide over Ned Yost. I feel like we’re a week away a managerial meltdown on his part.
KOK – The schedule hasn’t hurt but how are the feelings among the fan base with a couple weeks left?
WOF – We feel cautiously optimistic. With the exception of the Royals our remaining schedule looks like a cake walk. But… this is Cleveland. We’re totally prepared on an emotional level to be swept by the Astros or Twins. And by emotionally prepared I mean pitch forks and torches in hand and ready to riot. Expect the worst and hope for the best! But seriously, with the White Sox, Astros, and Twins left, we like their chances to make a real push.
KOK – Who are the arms the Royals will be seeing this week at the K?
WOF – The Royals will have the privilege of facing Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber, and Danny Salazar. Kazmir has had his issues of late so game one could go either way. Kluber has continued to impress and has looked great since coming off of the DL. Expect six or seven solid innings from him. As for Salazar, he’s been amazing but the Indians have been limiting him to 80 pitches per start. This means he’s been exiting games as early as the fourth inning since he’s relied heavily on striking out hitters. Dont be surprised if the Indians end up going to the bullpen before Salazar is even eligible to record a win.
KOK – These teams have been competitive all season long with KC taking 2-of-3 at Progressive Field a week ago, what do you think happens this series?
WOF – This is going to be a nail biter for sure. Both teams have something to play for, especially the Royals who can smell a playoff spot for the first time in decades. I fully expect James Shields to shut the Tribe down in game one. Games two I’ll give to the Indians because of Corey Kluber and his continued brilliance. As for game three, it pains me to say it but I have to give it to the Royals. The 80 pitch limit on Salazar hasn’t hurt them yet but it’s only a matter of time. I think the Royals get into the bullpen early and they struggle to keep runs off the board. So in conclusion I think the Royals take 2 of 3.
Series Pitching Match-Ups:
Monday, September 16: Scott Kazmir (8-8, 4.24) v. James Shields (11-9, 3.38), 7:10 pm
Tuesday, September 17: Corey Kluber (9-5, 3.55) v. Danny Duffy (2-0, 1.85), 7:10 pm
Wednesday, September 18: Danny Salazar (1-2, 2.66) v. Bruce Chen (7-3, 3.11), 7:10 pm
Television Information: FSKC, Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC)
Fox Sports Kansas City will televise all three games between the Indians and Royals this week with Ryan Lefebrve and Rex Hudler on the call. Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery host Royals Live before and after the game from Rivals Sports Bar. The Royals Radio Network (KCSP/610 Sports Radio in KC) has each game with Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews being joined in the booth by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart.
Hunt for Blue October:
AL Central Standings – Detroit Tigers (86-63), Cleveland Indians (81-68, 5 GB), Kansas City Royals (78-71, 8 GB), Minnesota Twins (64-84, 21.5), Chicago White Sox (58-91, 28)
Wildcard Standings – Tampa Bay Rays (81-67, -), Texas Rangers (81-67, -), Cleveland Indians (81-68, .5 GB), Baltimore Orioles (79-70, 2.5 GB), New York Yankees (79-71, 3 GB) Kansas City Royals (78-71, 3.5 GB)