KC will continue their homestand on Tuesday evening, weather permitting, with the first of two games against the 33-31 Cleveland Indians. KC starter Jason Vargas keeps providing unexpectedly remarkable work for the Royals this year, but he’ll have his work cut out for him this evening.
Cleveland has only lost one of their eight games this month, and their offense deserves a lion’s share of the credit for this recent success. This June, the Indians are second league-wide in BA, OBP, H and HR. They’re third in SLG% and OPS, and they lead the league in RBI and SB. Yesterday, as Royals batters were sidelined by the still-pouring rain, Cleveland scored 17 against the Texas Rangers.
Seven batters on the Indians’ active roster have seen Vargas 10 or more times in their career, and four of those seven have averages below .185 against him. Lonnie Chisenhall, who just put himself in history books with one of the greatest offensive performances ever, has yet to face Vargas in his career. After becoming the first player in the last 100 years to go deep three times, get three hits and post nine RBI in a game without recording an out, he may not see a fastball over the plate on Tuesday. Or ever again.
I mean, really, the guy was hitting .365 before his legendary performance. He can take first base every time as far as I’m concerned, old-school baseball minds be damned. This series is crucial — winning both would put Cleveland at .500 and KC a game above — so stifling Lonnie and the other Indians who are in the groove would do quite a lot for morale in Kansas City.