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Kansas City Royals (19-27) at Cleveland Indians (24-21)
Friday, May 26 - 7:10 PM EST
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
The Cleveland Indians look to begin turning their fortunes around at home when they host the American League Central-rival Kansas City Royals on Friday night for the first of a three-game series. The Indians, who were tied for the second-best home record in the majors last season (53-28), have won just eight of 19 at Progressive Field to start 2017 after Thursday’s postponement against Cincinnati.
Francisco Lindor boasts a 10-game hitting streak (11-for-40) while teammate Michael Brantley has hit safely in nine in a row (10-for-24) for Cleveland, which lost two of three to the Reds after an inspiring three-game sweep at Houston. The Indians, who went 14-5 against the Royals last season and took two out of three contests at Kansas City earlier this month, will send right-hander Mike Clevinger to the mound for the series opener after his Thursday start was rained out. The Royals lost three of four games before being washed out at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, which gave them a chance to adjust their rotation with right-hander Ian Kennedy getting the start on normal rest Friday. Second baseman Whit Merrifield has hit safely in 10 straight games for Kansas City, going 13-for-37 in that stretch, but went 1-for-12 versus Cleveland earlier this month.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Kansas City, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Ian Kennedy (0-4, 4.06 ERA) vs. Indians RH Mike Clevinger (2-1, 1.56)
Kennedy lasted just two innings in his last start at Minnesota, allowing five runs on three hits (two homers) and three walks in an 8-4 loss. The 32-year-old USC product, who has permitted 10 runs in his last two outings after giving up two or fewer in four straight games, owns a 5.79 ERA on the road but has limited opponents to a .193 batting average overall. Brantley is 0-for-4 with two strikeouts versus Kennedy, who is 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA in eight career starts against the Indians.
Clevinger had a no-hitter through six innings last time out at Houston and finished with eight strikeouts and two hits allowed over seven scoreless innings. The 26-year-old Florida native was outstanding in his season debut at Kansas City, permitting one hit over 5 2/3 scoreless frames with five strikeouts on May 7. Clevinger, who was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two outings (one start) against the Royals last season, has walked 11 in 17 1/3 innings in 2017.
1. Kansas City LHP Mike Minor has not allowed a run in nine straight appearances, striking out 16 in 12 1/3 innings during that span.
2. Cleveland OF Lonnie Chisenhall was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Thursday.
3. Royals OF Alex Gordon has hit safely in five consecutive games (6-for-15, four walks) to raise his average to .179.
PREDICTION: Indians 5, Royals 3