The Cleveland Indians have faced little resistance from the Kansas City Royals this season, save for their first meeting in April and a doubleheader on Monday.
The Indians (74-76) aim to defeat the Royals (69-83) for the 13th time in 16 games this season when the clubs conclude a four-game series in Cleveland on Wednesday.
The Indians got out of the blocks in a hurry on Tuesday, with Yu Chang’s three-run triple in the first inning and Ernie Clement’s solo homer in the second setting the tone en route to a 4-1 victory.
Chang has seven RBIs in his last four games and 19 in his 26 contests since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
Clement added a pair of defensive gems in the field in addition to belting his third homer of the season.
“Ernie is a very good player, but he’s extra special when I’m pitching, I think,” Indians pitcher Cal Quantrill said. “He’s singlehandedly saved me four, five, six runs already this season. He’s my favorite player on this team.”
Clement kept it simple in his postgame interview with Bally Sports Cleveland: “It’s a big part of the game. Defense and pitching win championships, so I take pride in that. I’m just trying to make plays.”
The fast start certainly slowed the Royals, who were left to fight an uphill battle the rest of the way.
“It almost kicks the wind out of you when you come out of the gate like that,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “We need our starters to come out and set the tempo, set the pace of the game and give us an opportunity to strike first.”
That task will fall on the shoulders of Royals right-hander Carlos Hernandez (6-2, 3.90 ERA), who will take the mound on Wednesday looking to rid the sour taste from his mouth after his last start.
Hernandez, 24, answered scattering three hits over six scoreless innings on Sept. 9 by getting blitzed for seven runs on nine hits in a 12-10 loss to Oakland six days later.
Hernandez fared well in his lone previous encounter with Cleveland. He scattered two hits over 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision on Sept. 1, 2020.
Indians left-hander Logan Allen (1-7, 7.11) will bid for his first win since April 11 when he makes the start Wednesday.
Allen has lost his last two outings after surrendering nine runs on 15 hits in nine innings.
The 24-year-old has made both of his career starts against Kansas City this season. He owns a 0-1 record with a 3.09 ERA in those outings.
Allen would be wise to tread carefully around Hunter Dozier and Nicky Lopez.
Dozier went deep for the second time in as many days on Tuesday to increase his career homer total to 11 against Cleveland, his most vs. any opponent. He is batting .333 (14-for-42) with 10 extra-base hits (five doubles, five homers) in his last 13 games overall.
Lopez is batting .380 (49-for-129) with 11 RBIs and 24 runs scored during his career-best 31-game on-base streak.
–Field Level Media