Kansas City (78-73) at Cleveland (66-87)

Fair Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 18, 2003
  • TV: RTN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Royals are running out of time in the AL Central race.

The Royals hope Jose Lima can regain some of his magic on the mound as they close their three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.

After losing Wednesday to snap a four-game winning streak, Kansas City is 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for first place in the AL Central race with 11 games to play.

The Royals lost 9-1 to the Indians on Wednesday to take some of the wind out of their sails.

“Every time we lose, it’s quiet in here,” Royals starter Paul Abbott said. “It’s a somber mood. However, if we win tomorrow, we win the series. Our mindset is to win every series and to go from there.”

Lima is looking to re-ignite Kansas City’s playoff hopes as he returns from the disabled list.

He was sensational in 11 starts before he was put on the 15-day DL on Aug. 24 with a right groin strain. The veteran right-hander won his first seven decisions and is 7-1 with a 3.92 ERA for the year.

Jake Westbrook allowed four hits over six-plus innings, and Travis Hafner and Alex Escobar homered as the Indians ended a four-game losing streak.

The Indians have scored 23 runs in their last three games.

“We’re making the pitcher work harder and we’re doing it more consistently,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “We did the last two games, but it didn’t show up in wins. But we carried it over to tonight and it worked out for us.”

Lefty C.C. Sabathia will start for the Indians on Thursday. Sabathia is 13-8 with a 3.63 ERA this season.

“He’s gone from being an opening day starter to being a No. 1 starter,” Wedge said. “He’s got 13 wins, which is very good, especially considering that early in the year he had a lot of tough no-decisions.”

STANDINGS: Royals - 3rd place, 4 1/2 GB, AL Central. Indians - 4th place, 17 1/2 GB, AL Central.

ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Lima (7-1, 3.92 ERA). The Dominican-born pitcher gave up three runs and 10 hits before getting pulled after four innings of his last start on Aug. 23, a 4-3 Kansas City victory over Minnesota. The right-hander is 2-5 with a 7.13 ERA lifetime against Cleveland.

INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Sabathia (13-8, 3.63 ERA). Sabathia is 7-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 13 career starts against Kansas City. Sabathia has won four of his last five decisions overall. The 23-year-old lefty gave up two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings to earn a 4-3 win over Minnesota on Friday.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Carlos Beltran, .304 avg., 23 HRs, 95 RBIs, 91 runs and 38 SBs. Indians - Jody Gerut, .280 avg., 22 HRs and 75 RBIs; Casey Blake, 77 runs; Milton Bradley, 17 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Royals, 12-6.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - OF Raul Ibanez has a .429 batting average (6-for-14) with a home run and six RBIs against Sabathia. … OF Beltran ranks second in the AL in stolen bases. Indians - OF Gerut’s 22 home runs rank second among all AL rookies. … RHP Danys Baez leads Cleveland with 25 saves. He’s tied for fourth in the AL with 71 appearances. … OF Lawton is 5-for-13 with a home run against Lima.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 40-38 on the road; Indians - 37-40 at home.

INJURIES: Royals - OF Michael Tucker (leg), 15-day DL; RHP Kevin Appier (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Runelvys Hernandez (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Kyle Snyder (shoulder), 60-day DL. Indians - IF John McDonald (back), 15-day DL; OF Bradley (back), 15-day DL; OF Lawton (finger), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ryan Ludwick (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; IF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL; IF Omar Vizquel (knee), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lima NYM vs. C. Sabathia NYY
8-3 Record 13-9
4.91 ERA 3.60
32 K 141
26 BB 66
1.45 WHIP 1.30