The Kansas City Royals surprised the AL Central leaders by completing a three-game sweep earlier this week, and though they won’t be able to pull another one off in Cleveland, there’s still something to gain.
The Royals have won just one series on the road since late June, a total they can double Sunday with a victory in the finale of a three-game set with the Indians.
Kansas City (56-86) had lost 13 of 17 heading into its home series with Detroit on Tuesday, and shocked the first-place Tigers by sweeping a set for the first time since beating Cincinnati in three straight from June 12-14.
The Royals had won five in a row heading into Saturday’s game, but couldn’t match their longest winning streak of the season. Michael Brantley(notes) had four of the Indians’ 17 hits and Jhonny Peralta(notes) drove in four as Cleveland won 13-6.
“We couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said.
The Royals’ lone road series victory of the second half came when they took two of three in Minnesota from Aug. 11-13.
Kansas City will hand the ball to Kyle Davies(notes) (7-9, 5.54 ERA), who’s looking to win four straight starts for the first time in his five-year career. He was wild Monday against Los Angeles, walking six in five innings, but allowed one run in a 6-3 victory to lower his ERA to 2.12 over his past three outings.
“I thought I had really good stuff, just the location wasn’t the best,” Davies said after improving to 4-6 at home. “I had to make a lot of pitches with men on base and I was able to do that.”
Despite his solid outing against the Angels, Davies has a disastrous 8.46 ERA in 11 home starts. He’s been an entirely different pitcher on the road, going 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA, and his .215 opponents’ batting average away from home is tied for seventh-best in the majors.
Davies gave up three runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 9-3 home win over Cleveland on April 14. Peralta is 4 for 9 lifetime against Davies.
The Indians will counter with Carlos Carrasco(notes) (0-1, 12.38), and they’ll hope to see some signs of improvement in the right-hander’s third major league start. Carrasco gave up six runs over three innings in a loss at Detroit in his debut on Sept. 1, then allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings Tuesday against Texas, leaving without a decision in a wild 11-9 loss.
Carrasco has yielded five homers in his first eight innings.
“I need to trust my fastball,” Carrasco told the Indians’ official Web site. “And I have to throw more inside.”