Another injury to a key player has the potential to make the Cleveland Indians’ pursuit of the AL Central leader that much more difficult.
A first-time All-Star this season, Cabrera hit his career-high 22nd homer and increased his personal-best RBI total to 80 in Cleveland’s 5-4 win at Kansas City on Friday. That came after he fouled a pitch off his knee, which forced Cabrera to leave the game when he could not move well enough laterally in the field.
Trailing first-place Detroit by 5 1/2 games, the Indians (69-66) hope Cabrera will not be the latest player to miss significant time due to injury. Cleveland lost outfielder Michael Brantley(notes) (wrist) for the season, and remains without Grady Sizemore(notes) (knee, abdominal surgery), Travis Hafner(notes) (foot), Shin-Soo Choo(notes) (oblique) and Jason Kipnis(notes) (hamstring).
Despite that list, the Indians have won six of eight and remain confident during their quest to catch the Tigers.
“There’s a lot of good things going on right now,” Friday’s winning pitcher Justin Masterson(notes) said. “It’s going to be fun as we continue on, especially with as many games as we have left in the division.”
Kosuke Fukudome(notes) had three hits Friday as the Indians broke out to a 5-0 lead and held on late to win for eighth time in 11 games at Kauffman Stadium. Fukudome is 8 for 21 with four RBIs in his last five games.
On his second stint in the majors this season, Cleveland’s David Huff(notes) (2-2, 2.08 ERA) takes the ball looking to build on an outstanding outing. He allowed three hits in six scoreless innings during a 2-1 win over Oakland on Monday.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 5.60 ERA in three career starts versus Kansas City.
Alcides Escobar(notes) had two hits with an RBI on Friday for the Royals (57-82), but the shortstop is likely to miss this contest after he sprained his left ankle when he came down on Indians first baseman Carlos Santana’s(notes) foot as he tried to beat out a bunt.
“The trainers think it’s a grade-1 sprain, which is the best you could hope for,” manager Ned Yost said. “It might be a day or two. We’ll just see how he responds.”
Alex Gordon(notes), who hit his career-high 20th homer, is 14 for 30 with three home runs and six RBIs in his last seven games. Two of those homers and five of the RBIs have come while he’s gone 7 for 13 in his last three against the Indians.
“My job is to go out and execute pitches, whether we’re leading by 10 runs or down by 10 runs,” Hochevar said.
The right-hander’s execution has not been very good while giving up 12 runs and 16 hits in 12 1-3 innings to lose both starts versus Cleveland this season.