Kansas City Royals (85-71) at Cleveland Indians (82-75)
Tuesday, September 23 - 7:05 PM EST
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
The Kansas City Royals are looking safe to secure at least a berth in the wild-card race, but are once again turning their sights to the American League Central crown. The Royals will try to keep the pressure on the Detroit Tigers when they visit the Cleveland Indians for the second of a three-game series on Tuesday. Kansas City is one game behind the Tigers in the Central while sitting two games up on the Seattle Mariners for the second AL wild card.
Cleveland is not ready to give up its own postseason dreams and is 3 1/2 games behind the Royals for that coveted second wild card. The Indians briefly got the deficit down to 2 1/2 when they closed out the completion of a suspended contest before Monday’s regularly-scheduled game but failed to take another bite out in a 2-0 loss in the nightcap. Cleveland is down to the final five contests of its regular season and has two more chances to cut into the Royals before closing out the campaign against the Tampa Bay Rays.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Yordano Ventura (13-10, 3.19 ERA) vs. Indians RH Danny Salazar (6-7, 4.02)
Ventura dominated through seven innings against Chicago on Wednesday, striking out seven while allowing one run on three hits to earn a win. The 23-year-old has permitted three or fewer earned runs in each of his last 10 starts and has picked up the win in four of the last five. Ventura yielded one run in a season-high 8 1/3 innings at Cleveland on July 4.
Salazar has been nearly as strong as Ventura of late and struck out nine while surrendering one run in 7 1/3 innings without getting a decision at Houston on Thursday. The Dominican allowed one or no earned runs in four of his last six turns. Santana last faced the Royals on July 27, when he picked up a win while yielding three run on seven hits in seven innings.
1. Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (hamstring) did not start Monday for the fourth time in the last six games and is day-to-day.
2. Kansas City RHP Greg Holland has not allowed a hit in any of his last six appearances.
3. Cleveland LF Michael Brantley has hit safely in 13 straight games, raising his average to .326.
PREDICTION: Royals 3, Indians 2