It’s freedom Friday, and the Royals begin the first of the final three series before the All-Star break. They have a chance to separate themselves from the bottom half of the division, and gain some ground on the Tigers in the next week.
The last time the teams met, the Royals swept a quick two game series at Kauffman Stadium. They outscored the tribe by a combined score of 13-6. That was at Kauffman though. The Indians are 23-15 at home this season, a division best.
The Royals are coming off of a series win against the Twins, and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They’ve been able to maintain within close distance of the Tigers, but it doesn’t take long for one team to get hot and another to get cold.
Let’s check out each game of the series:
Game 1: Ventura v Tomlin
It’s the 3,4,5 pitching rotation for the Royals this series, and Ventura is hoping to get the series started on the right foot. Ventura has shown mixed results so far this season, boasting a 5-7 record with a 3.26 ERA. The ERA isn’t bad, but it isn’t that good either. For a guy who is supposed to become a #1 starter for the team, we should be expecting much more out of him. Ventura is getting 3.5 runs of support per game, and the Royals are .400 when he pitches.
Tomlin has a slighter higher ERA at 3.78, with a 5-5 record. Now unfortunately, I don’t know the most efficient way to find those stats that tell you how well a team fares against a certain pitcher. However, thanks to Baseball Reference, I do know that Tomlin gets an average of 4.3 runs of support per game, and the Indians are .500 when he pitches. Based on those stats, he’s got a pretty good chance of winning.
Comparing pitcher to pitcher, Ventura gets less run support, but the Royals are also a more inconsistent team. Each have similar pitching stats this season, so this game should come down to how well the offense performs.
Game prediction: Royals 3, Indians 1
Game 2: Guthrie v House
Guthrie has proved to be one of the best pick-ups this team has acquired. If I’m correct, he came to the Royals by way of trade. Currently sitting at 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA, Guthrie is performing just about where he should be. Getting 3.8 runs of support per game and a .588 win percentage when he pitches, Guthrie is a solid starter in the bottom of the rotation. I liked him last year, and I like him this year. Apparently, so does the Royals offense.
House, 0-2 with a 4.28 ERA, has little stats to base my analysis off of. He’s played in seven games for the Indians this year, with the two losses. The Indians overall are 3-4 in the games that he’s pitched, but the three wins were a ND for House. Which means he gives up runs early. If we know anything about the Royals, it’s that score runs generally early in the game.
Game prediction: Royals 5, Indians 0 (Yes that’s right, a shutout)
Game 3: Duffy v Kluber
Probably the best matchup of the series. Duffy has performed just extraordinarily this season, with a 5-7 record and 2.60 ERA. He has easily become my favorite pitcher on this rotation, and call me crazy, but I think he has a higher ceiling than Ventura. He’ s been working on his control and efficiency, and he’s seeing good results. However, he is only getting 3.4 runs of support per game, and the team is just .455 when he pitches. Let’s hope they score some runs in this series.
Kluber has been solid for the Indians so far this season, sitting at 7-6 with a 2.99 ERA. The ERA is higher than Duffy’s so Duffy might have an advantage there, but Kluber is getting 4.9 runs of support per game, and that’s what really matters. This looks like it will be the most pitcher friendly duel of the series, and again will come down to which offense scores more runs.
Game prediction: Royals 2, Indians 1
Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I really think the Royals have a good chance to sweep this series, especially coming off a day of rest and heading into the all star break. They know what they need to do, and if they try hard enough, they can get it done. I just hope they actually come through for me.
Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!