Kansas City Royals: Five Keys to Winning Cleveland Series

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Whit Merrifield
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Whit Merrifield /
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CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 13: Starting pitcher Jason Vargas
CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 13: Starting pitcher Jason Vargas /

No. 2 Take Advantage of Pitching Matchups

The Kansas City Royals were probably just as happy as anybody in the Cleveland organization to find out Corey Kluber was not hurt too badly when he injured his ankle last Friday.

If Kluber—who is challenging for the Cy Young Award this season—had been pushed back a day or two, he would have slotted in among this weekend’s probable starters. Instead he made his normally scheduled Wednesday start against the Red Sox, meaning he wouldn’t pitch again until a primetime showdown with the Yankees Monday night on ESPN.

Also avoided is Trevor Bauer, who has been pitching well of late, as he started opposite Sale on Thursday.

That leaves Ryan Merritt (0-0, 3.12 ERA), Mike Clevinger (6-5, 3.97 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (12-6, 3.95 ERA) to face the Kansas City Royals. It’s not a group of slouches, but the draw could have been much worse. Like last weekend, for instance, when the three Cleveland starters were Kluber, Bauer and Danny Salazar.

Cleveland’s starting trio will be opposed by Vargas (14-7, 3.59 ERA), Jason Hammel (6-9, 4.73 ERA) and Danny Duffy (8-8, 3.78 ERA), respectively.

The Kansas City Royals would have to feel pretty good about their chances at taking the series. Vargas and Duffy have been the two most consistent starters all season and Hammel picked up the win over Cleveland last Sunday.