Cleveland (68-66) at Kansas City (57-81)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Sep 2, 2011
  • TV: STO, FSKC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

While the Kansas City Royals are again at the bottom of the AL Central, Bruce Chen(notes) is in the midst of the most successful stretch of his 13-year major league career.

He’s usually been very good against the Cleveland Indians.

The well-traveled Chen looks for a sixth consecutive winning start while trying to help the Royals continue their role as spoiler when they host the Indians on Friday night.

Though Kansas City (57-81) currently sits last in the division, it’s only one game behind fourth-place Minnesota and coming off a split of a four-game set with first-place Detroit. The Royals scored 20 runs and pounded out 35 hits in their two wins at Comerica Park. An 11-8 victory Thursday gave Kansas City a .500 finish on a 10-game trip that featured five one-run losses.

“Put a couple more pieces in there and I think we’re going to be really, really good,” right fielder Jeff Francoeur(notes) told the Royals’ official website.

Kansas City lost two of three at Cleveland on the trip, with the only victory coming when Chen (10-5, 3.94 ERA) allowed a run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 2-1 win. The left-hander has posted a 2.81 ERA while winning a career-high five straight starts since losing to Baltimore on Aug. 2.

“I am feeling good,” Chen said. “I feel like I am throwing my pitches really well.”

Chen has thrown the ball extremely well while going 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his last four starts versus Cleveland. He’s allowed just three earned runs over 14 1-3 innings to go 2-0 against the Indians this season.

Though the Royals are 5-10 against the Indians (68-66) in 2011, they’ve hit the ball well enough to have a decent chance at preventing Cleveland from cutting into its 5 1/2-game deficit to Detroit.

“We all know what we’re facing,” said Indians manager Manny Acta after Thursday’s 7-0 loss to Oakland. “There’s no time to complain, no time to rest, no time to shut it down. We just have to get after it.”

Francoeur, who had three hits and homered for his 1,000th career hit Thursday, is batting .315 with three home runs and eight RBIs versus Cleveland in 2011. Rookie third baseman Mike Moustakas(notes) has hit .421 (24 for 57) with eight RBIs during a 15-game hitting streak, and is 6 for 16 in his last four against the Indians.

Though Cleveland has won five of seven, it managed just five hits Thursday in a game that started 12 hours after it won 4-3 in 16 innings Wednesday.

“We’re hanging in there,” Acta said. “We’re doing well. We’ve won five of the last seven games, and if you win five out of seven the rest of the way good things can happen.”

The Indians send Justin Masterson(notes) (10-8, 2.83) to the mound trying to avoid a second straight defeat after he allowed two runs in six innings of Sunday’s loss to Chen and the Royals. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA in four starts against Kansas City this season.

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) is 1 for 16 in his last four games, but is batting .323 with two homers and seven RBIs versus Kansas City in 2011.

Cleveland has outscored the Royals 46-20 while winning four of six at Kauffman Stadium.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Masterson Cle vs. B. Chen KC
12-10 Record 12-8
3.21 ERA 3.77
158 K 97
65 BB 50
1.28 WHIP 1.30

Scoreboard

Friday, Sep 2