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Major League Baseball
Preview
Cleveland at Kansas City
When: 8:10 PM ET, Thursday, July 24, 2014
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

The Cleveland Indians are showing signs of fatigue on their 11-game road trip while the Kansas City Royals are trying to regain their composure after a recent woeful stretch. The American League Central rivals look to remain within earshot of first-place Detroit when they begin a pivotal four-game series in Kansas City on Thursday. The Indians fell 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers after dropping two of three to cellar-dwelling Minnesota while the Royals have won two straight following a brutal 1-7 stretch to reside seven games back.

Carlos Santana, who went 6-for-13 with a homer and two doubles in the series against the Twins, is batting .313 in his career versus Kansas City. The slugger belted a homer against left-hander Danny Duffy in their last meeting while Thursday's other starter Corey Kluber struck out 10 in that contest as Cleveland cruised to a 4-1 triumph July 6. Norichika Aoki, who had the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, is 0-for-4 in his career versus Kluber and 3-for-20 against the Indians.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), FSN Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (10-6, 2.95 ERA) vs. Royals LH Danny Duffy (5-10, 2.66)

Kluber won his third straight start and fourth in five outings after striking out 10 for the second time in three trips to the mound. The 28-year-old allowed two runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings en route to a 6-2 victory over Detroit on Saturday. Kluber owns an impressive 4-1 career mark versus Kansas City and has limited the Royals to a .222 batting average.

Duffy dropped his third straight outing and fifth in six decisions after allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings against Boston on Saturday. The 25-year-old certainly has deserved a better fate during that stretch as he has yielded 12 runs and 32 hits in his last 37 1/3 innings. Duffy dropped to 1-1 in his career against Cleveland after permitting four runs on 10 hits in six innings July 6.

WALK-OFFS

1. Kansas City's Eric Hosmer saw his career-best 16-game hitting streak come to an end Wednesday and is 4-for-25 in his career versus Kluber.

2. Cleveland's Jose Ramirez had an RBI double and collected two of his team's five hits Wednesday in place of fellow SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who is nursing lower back pain.

3. Royals LF Alex Gordon went 7-for-11 in the three-game series versus the White Sox.

PREDICTION: Indians 4, Royals 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cleveland 51-49 W1 29-19 22-30 13-11 22-21 8-11 8-6
Kansas City 49-50 W1 22-25 27-25 14-12 19-23 8-11 8-4
Last Meeting
Cleveland Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/6/14 KC 1 CLE 4 .303 2 .869 .129 1 .414
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .441 15 1.134
Kansas City J. Dyson .417 10 .881
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland M. Brantley 2 7 6
Kansas City M. Moustakas 5 9 11
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.53 .282 61
Kansas City 3.79 .268 56
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .324 121 .903
Kansas City S. Perez .281 96 .751
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland M. Brantley 15 67 63
Kansas City M. Moustakas 12 26 39
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.93 .257 870
Kansas City 3.74 .264 705