Series Preview: Indians at Royals. May 16th and 17th.

The Indians travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals for a “quick” two game series. Before we begin with any analysis of the Royals, let’s take a look at the weather forcast! Surely it is better than this past weekend, where baseball’s natural enemy led to the postponement of two games against the Mariners in Cleveland. From weather.com:

KANSAS CITY






Today Tonight Tomorrow
Sunny Clear Sunny
Sunny Clear Sunny
68° 44° 68°
High Low High
Chance of Precip:
0%
Chance of Precip:
0%
Chance of Precip:
0%

It looks like we will actually be watching baseball tonight and tomorrow!

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The Tribe travels to Kansas City already having played seven games against the Royals and winning five of them. That was when the Royals were enjoying second place and looking to leap over the Tribe for first. Since the last time the two teams played each other on April 28, the Royals have gone just 8-6 and have been trumped by the red-hot Tigers for second place.

In their last three losses, the Royals have only scored a total of two runs as they were blanked by Freddy Garcia, Justin Verlander, and Brad Penny.

They were able to avoid the “sweep” yesterday though, as mother nature also postponed their series finale game in Detroit.  And the decision came early: Around 11 a.m. Eastern time — roughly two hours before the scheduled start.The makeup date is Sept. 1, which had been an open date for both clubs following the Royals’ final trip to Detroit for a three-game series Aug. 29-31. The final two games of what is now a four-game series will be played at 12:05 p.m. Central time. The postponement means the Royals return home after a 2-3 trip that included their first series victory in New York since 1999. They lost two games to the Tigers prior to Sunday’s postponement.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals won’t adjust their rotation because of the rainout. Everyone will simply move back one day. That means right-hander Kyle Davies, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday, will start tonight against the Tribe at Kauffman Stadium. Davies has already made two starts against the Indians — one good and one bad. He turned over a 3-2 lead after six innings on April 17 at Kauffman but got a no-decision when the Indians rallied for a 7-3 victory in 10 innings. Ten days later, Davies allowed eight runs while lasting just 3 1/3 innings in an 8-2 loss at Cleveland. The rainout also cost outfielder Mitch Maier a rare starting opportunity. He was scheduled to play right field Sunday in order to give Jeff Francoeur a day off, but manager Ned Yost confirmed Francoeur will be back in the lineup Monday against the Indians.

It’s 10 days and counting now since rookie reliever Jeremy Jeffress made his last appearance. Jeffress battled possible food poisoning in New York, which forced him to miss one game. Otherwise, manager Ned Yost has of options in his bullpen. Left-hander Everett Teaford recently switched to full-time duty as a reliever at Class AAA Omaha because the Royals want him to be ready immediately if they decide need bullpen help. Teaford, who turned 27 on Sunday, looms as a likely promotion candidate if there is a need because he is already on the 40-man roster. He is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 10 games for Omaha, including seven relief appearances.

Two other possibilities who are on the roster:

•Right-hander Jesse Chavez opened the season with 13 2/3 scoreless innings in nine appearances at Omaha, but has allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings over his last four outings.

•Right-hander Greg Holland is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA with 23 strikeouts but 11 walks in 18 2/3 innings over 12 games.

A guy who was not in the big leagues when the Indians last played the Royals is highly touted prospect Eric Hosmer. Here is what he has done for far in 2011, courtesy of Baseball America:

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS SH SF GIDP OBP SLG OPS
Omaha (PCL) AAA .439 26 98 21 43 5 0 3 15 19 16 3 0 0 1 1 .525 .582 1.107
Kansas City (AL) MAJ .241 8 29 4 7 2 0 2 5 5 7 1 0 0 1 1 .343 .517 .860

The Good: Hosmer has plus-plus raw power, but like fellow Royals prospect Mike Moustakas, he’s more of a hitter with power than a pure slugger. He struck out just 66 times in 520 at-bats in 2010, and began to focus more on muscling up mistakes following a move to the Texas League, where he hit 13 home runs in 195 at-bats in. He has a good feel for the strike zone and gets into hitter’s counts. He’s athletic for his size and a solid defender, although his plus arm is wasted a bit at first base. There is some talk of moving him to left field, where scouts think he could at least hold his own.
The Bad: Hosmer doesn’t run well, but that’s not part of his game and a non-issue, as while all of his value lies in his bat, it’s a special one. Scouts noted a tendency to change his approach in pressure situations, either becoming too passive or aggressive at the plate.

Pitching Matchups:

Tonight: RHP Josh Tomlin (CLE) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (KC)

5-17:  RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) vs.  RHP Vin Mazzaro (KC)

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