The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals will look to put their troubles behind them when the struggling American League Central rivals open a three-game set on Tuesday. The Indians were unceremoniously outscored 28-6 en route to getting swept by Minnesota to fall two games below .500 for the first time since April 13. Speaking of that day, Cleveland has won seven of its last eight at Kauffman Stadium – including a three-game sweep which started on April 13.
While Cleveland is spinning its wheels, Kansas City has plunged head-first into the bottom of the division. The Royals, who were swept in Seattle, have dropped five straight and 19 of 25 in July. One more loss on the last day of the month will secure Kansas City its worst July in franchise history. A team ERA of 5.69 for the month is the primary reason for the Royals’ troubles.
Indians Royals Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), FSKC (Kansas City)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Derek Lowe (8-9, 5.09 ERA) vs. Royals RH Luke Hochevar (6-9, 5.26)
Lowe suffered his third straight loss after yielding five runs on eight hits in six innings in a 5-3 setback versus Detroit on Wednesday. The 39-year-old is 2-8 with a gaudy 7.59 ERA in his last 12 starts. Lowe has split 10 career decisions against the Royals, although he has defeated them twice in April this season.
Hochevar has split a pair of meetings against Cleveland this season to move to 5-8 in his career versus the AL Central rival. After yielding seven runs on nine hits in an 8-3 loss on April 13, the 28-year-old offered a much better outing 12 days later. Hochevar allowed two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings to pick up the win. In his last start on Wednesday, Hochevar allowed eight runs on nine hits in three innings to drop an 11-6 decision to the Los Angeles Angels.
1. Although his team has struggled, Kansas City DH Billy Butler is 10-for-17 in his last five contests. He was named the American League Player of the Week as a result.
2. Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez will make his second minor league start for Triple-A Columbus. Hernandez is entering the second of his three-week ban from Major League Baseball for identity fraud.
3. Cleveland C Carlos Santana has reached base in 21 of 23 games in July. He is just 1-for-12 with two walks in his career versus Hochevar.