Cleveland (12-18) at Kansas City (11-22)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Wed May 12, 2010
  • TV: STO, FSKC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals finished last year tied in the AL Central cellar, so it’s no surprise they’re the bottom two teams in the division again in 2010.

It’s also no shock that the sputtering Royals appear to have the biggest problems.

Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona(notes) will try to send Kansas City to a seventh straight loss as the teams continue their three-game set Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Each club lost 97 games in 2009, and both are currently on pace to do even worse this year.

But while the Indians (12-18) have snapped a five-game losing streak with back-to-back victories, including Tuesday night’s 8-2 win in the series opener, Kansas City’s woes only seem to be getting worse.

The Royals (11-22), the only team in the majors to lose more than 600 games since the start of 2004, rank last in the AL with a 5.21 ERA, a problem compounded by an offense that has totaled nine runs in the last four games. They’ve also made an error in seven of their last eight contests.

They closed an 11-game road trip with five consecutive defeats, and a return home did not immediately help.

“I think everybody is putting a lot of pressure on themselves in every aspect of the game,” right-hander Brian Bannister(notes) said. “We’re playing tense out there.”

Kyle Davies(notes) (2-1, 5.45 ERA) will try to snap the skid and bounce back from by far his worst start of the year. The right-hander had posted four quality starts in his first five outings, but he gave up nine runs in four-plus innings of the Royals’ 13-12 loss to Texas on Thursday.

Carmona (3-1, 3.86) had a more encouraging outing last week, using three double plays to work around seven hits and four walks while holding Toronto to two runs in 6 1-3 innings last Wednesday. The Blue Jays scored three runs in the ninth to win the game 5-4.

After going 4-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his first eight appearances against the Royals, Carmona has run into major problems the last three times he’s faced Kansas City. He’s 0-2 with a 7.79 ERA in that stretch, walking 11 in 17 1-3 innings.

Carmona hopes for some help from an offense that has totaled 15 runs in the Indians’ last two games, although it still ranks among the bottom five in the majors in runs (114) and home runs (17).

Cleveland batters struck out 10 times Tuesday - the seventh time in their last eight games they’ve reached that number - but Russell Branyan(notes) had two home runs while Austin Kearns(notes) added two hits and three runs scored.

Branyan’s homers were his first two of the season after he hit 31 for Seattle last year. He has been limited to 40 at-bats this season due to back problems.

“I’m a little behind these guys because of the fact that I missed spring training and opened on the DL,” Branyan told the Indians’ official website. “But I continue to work hard. Sooner or later, I’ll catch up.”

A win Wednesday would clinch Cleveland’s third consecutive series victory at Kansas City, where the Indians have won five of six.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Hernández Hou vs. K. Davies NYY
13-14 Record 8-12
3.77 ERA 5.34
124 K 126
72 BB 80
1.31 WHIP 1.56

Scoreboard

Wednesday, May 12