The surging Cleveland Indians go for a third straight shutout when they host the American League Central-rival Kansas City Royals on Sunday for the finale of a key three-game set. The first-place Indians registered 4-0 victories in each of the first two contests of the series and look to throw some more dirt on the Royals, who trail them by eight games.
Edwin Encarnacion belted his 30th homer in Saturday’s victory to become the only major-league player with at least that many blasts in each of the last six seasons while Cleveland has gone deep four times in the series. Carlos Carrasco hopes to turn his fortunes around at home (3-4, 5.13 ERA in 2017) when he takes the mound for the Indians on Sunday while rookie Eric Skoglund gets the call in a key spot for Kansas City. The Royals are just 1 ½ games back in the race for the AL’s second wild-card spot despite losing three straight contests - scoring a total of two runs - and five of their last eight. Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to six games (10-for-22) on Saturday while teammate Melky Cabrera recorded two hits and is 20-for-63 against Cleveland.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Eric Skoglund (1-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (12-6, 3.95)
Skoglund takes the spot of Danny Duffy, who was placed on the disabled list Saturday due to a sore elbow, and will make his fourth major-league start. The 24-year-old Floridian pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his debut at the end of May but struggled in his next two turns, including an outing against Cleveland on June 4 in which he allowed four runs in only two frames. Skoglund is 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 19 starts at Triple-A Omaha this year.
Carrasco struggled in his last start, permitting six runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings against Boston in a 9-1 loss after producing back-to-back strong outings. The 30-year-old Venezuelan, who has registered 167 strikeouts in 150 1/3 frames, struck out 19 and gave up one run over 13 innings in those two dazzling starts before facing the Red Sox. Lorenzo Cain is 9-for-27 versus Carrasco, who gave up five runs over 4 1/3 frames in a loss to the Royals on June 3.
1. Kansas City SS Alcides Escobar is scheduled to start his club-record 300th consecutive game on Sunday.
2. Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor recorded a single on Saturday and is 6-for-12 with two homers and four RBIs over his last three games.
3. Royals 3B Mike Moustakas (knee) went 0-for-2 with two walks as the DH on Saturday after being out of the starting lineup in each of the previous two contests.
PREDICTION: Indians 3, Royals 2