Cleveland ended a three-game slide with a 6-4 win over Toronto yesterday, which came on the heals of manager Terry Francona addressing the club about its recent struggles. “Nobody likes coming to the ballpark and look at your record when it’s not what you want it to be,” Francona said. “That’s plain and simple. Saying that, I don’t want them dragging in here, because it’s a new day. During a baseball season there’s a lot of grinding that needs to be done. Sometimes the game’s easier than it is at other times. That’s a simple fact. So when it’s not going perfect, you grind the best you can.”
Cleveland hopes that right-hander Zach McAllister can provide the spark for a prolonged winning streak. McAllister is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this season, including throwing a shutout over 7 2/3-innings in his lone home start. The problem for the savvy right-hander is tonight’s opponent – Kansas City – who has dominated McAllister over the years. In fact, McAllister is 1-2 with a career 5.60 ERA and 1.30 WHIP versus the Royals, including allowing a combined 11 earned runs on 16 hits in 17 2/3-innings of work.
However, McAllister welcomes a struggling Kansas City lineup that is batting just .256 with a .309 on base percentage this season (3.5 runs per game), including hitting .219 with a .270 on base percentage on the road (3.0 runs per game) and .247 with a .301 on base percentage versus division opponents (3.1 runs per game). The other good news for McAllister is the fact that he is supported by a very capable Cleveland bullpen that owns a 2.76 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 2014, including a 2.60 ERA and 1.23 WHIP at home and a 1.80 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over the last seven games.
Kansas City sends veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to the mound, who owns a pedestrian 4.34 ERA and 1.29 WHIP this season, including a 6.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP on the road. Let’s also note that Guthrie, much like his counterpart, has struggled against tonight’s opponent as evidenced by his 4.41 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in eight career starts against the Indians. In his last three appearances against Cleveland, Guthrie has yielded a combined 11 earned runs on 22 hits in 19 1/3-innings pitched.
From a technical standpoint, Cleveland is 52-25 (+25.3 units) versus teams averaging less than 4.4 runs per game, 44-19 (+25.3 units) versus teams averaging less than 2.8 extra base hits per game and 31-18 (+14.9 units) versus starting pitchers who give up one or more home runs per start. With Zack McAllister standing at 18-9 (+10.5 units) over the last two seasons, the experts at Pro Edge Sports give a slight lean to the Indians tonight.