Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Cleveland at Kansas City
When: 7:15 PM ET, Saturday, September 29, 2018
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Corey Kluber looks to finish off the regular season with a fifth straight victory as the playoff-bound Cleveland Indians visit the Kansas City Royals for the third of a four-game set between American League Central rivals Saturday. Kluber owns a career-high 20 victories, going without a loss since Aug. 25, and will likely get the call when the Indians take on Houston in Game 1 of the AL Division Series next Friday.

Cleveland has reached 90 victories three straight seasons for the first time since 1999-2001 after winning five of its last seven and has been especially dominant in the division (48-26). Josh Donaldson belted a grand slam in Friday’s 14-6 victory for the Indians on Friday and is 11-for-29 over his last nine contests after going 2-for-15 in his first five games following the trade with Toronto on Aug. 31. The Royals saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with Friday’s setback, but second baseman Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 18 games - during which he is 24-for-77. Kansas City, which has dropped 11 of 17 games against Cleveland this season, is 35-39 against AL Central opponents and has 57 victories - its fewest since going 56-106 in 2005.

TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), FS Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.83 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.42)

Kluber allowed four hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings to beat the Chicago White Sox on Monday and has limited opponents to three or fewer runs in six of his last eight starts. The 32-year-old Alabama native has struck out at least 10 in three of his last four starts after not being able to accomplish that feat in 16 outings over the previous three months. Jorge Bonifacio is 4-for-8 versus Kluber, who is 3-1 with 3.24 ERA in four starts against the Royals this season - 12-7, 3.02 lifetime.

Junis has registered three consecutive no-decisions since opening his September account with seven scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory at Cleveland. The 26-year-old Illinois native managed two quality starts in his last three trips to the mound but has served up five homers - three against Minnesota on Sept. 16. Francisco Lindor is 7-for-13 with three homers, two doubles and nine RBIs against Junis, who lost his other two starts against the Indians this season while permitting 13 runs (12 earned) over 11 frames.

WALK-OFFS

1. Kansas City C Salvador Perez is 9-for-27, including an RBI in each of his last three contests, during a seven-game hitting streak

2. Cleveland INF Erik Gonzalez, who was hit in the head by a pitch Wednesday, will not be available this weekend.

3. Royals OF Brian Goodwin launched a grand slam Friday and boasts seven RBIs in his last five contests.

PREDICTION: Indians 5, Royals 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cleveland 90-70 W1 49-32 41-38 16-18 48-26 14-18 12-8
Kansas City 57-103 L1 31-48 26-55 9-24 35-39 7-26 6-14
Last Meeting
Cleveland Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/28/18 CLE 14 KC 6 .364 2 .995 .206 1 .653
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland F. Lindor .319 22 1.035
Kansas City W. Merrifield .246 17 .680
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland F. Lindor 6 18 15
Kansas City S. Perez 3 7 11
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.20 .263 153
Kansas City 5.34 .247 102
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .309 174 .835
Kansas City W. Merrifield .303 189 .804
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland J. Ramirez 38 108 105
Kansas City S. Perez 27 52 80
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.76 .259 1527
Kansas City 4.98 .245 1140