The Cleveland Indians look to follow up perhaps their most dramatic victory in a historic winning streak when they put the 22-game run on the line against the visiting Kansas City Royals on Friday. Down to their last strike in the opener of the four-game set Thursday night, the Indians forced extra innings on a game-tying double by Francisco Lindor and won it in the 10th on Jay Bruce’s walk-off RBI double.
The 22-game winning streak is the second-longest in baseball history behind a 26-game run by the 1916 New York Giants, whose streak took place entirely at home and had a tie mixed in. Cleveland, which has defeated Kansas City four times during the streak by a combined margin of 23-2, has a magic number of three to clinch the American League Central. An 8-13 slide has severely hurt the Royals in their pursuit of a wild-card spot, with Thursday’s loss dropping them five games out of a playoff position. Trevor Bauer has won nine consecutive decisions for Cleveland and will be tasked with extending the club’s remarkable run when he starts Friday opposite Jason Vargas for Kansas City.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Jason Vargas (15-10, 4.15 ERA) vs. Indians RH Trevor Bauer (16-8, 4.33)
Vargas gave up eight runs over 9 2/3 innings in back-to-back starts against Cleveland last month, part of a stretch that has seen the veteran post a 7.27 ERA since the All-Star break. He was much better Sunday against Minnesota, allowing a run in five frames to earn a win and establish a career high in victories. The Long Beach State product is 8-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 18 career starts versus the Indians.
Bauer enters Friday tied for the AL lead in victories after winning his fifth straight start Sunday against Baltimore. The 26-year-old yielded two runs in 6 1/3 innings for the second straight outing while improving to 9-3 at home. Bauer blanked the Royals over 6 1/3 frames last month and has a lifetime 3.00 ERA against them in nine meetings.
1. Indians 2B/3B Jose Ramirez went 4-for-4 on Thursday and is 8-for-12 during a four-game hitting streak.
2. Cleveland’s rotation has a 1.77 ERA during the winning streak.
3. The Indians have won seven of the last eight meetings after opening 3-5 against Kansas City.
PREDICTION: Indians 6, Royals 3