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Indians Face Royals In First Game Of Mini-Series Monday Night In Kansas City

Maybe tonight we'll be able to get some baseball in. With the Indians and Royals having both been rained out yesterday, and Cleveland having had two straight washed away, it is safe to say that both teams will be ready for the cry of "Play ball!" at 8:10 in Kansas City

The Tribe comes in to the first of this brief two-game series still atop the American League Central with a record of 24-13 -- good enough to lead the Detroit Tigers by 3 1/3 games. The Royals find themselves at 20-19; five games back and in danger of falling to .500, but -- lest anyone get overconfident on the Cleveland side of the diamond -- the Indians were only able to split a four-game set in KC in April, and the Royals have of the best home records in the Majors at 15-8.

The Indians will send Josh Tomlin to the hill tonight. Tomlin was scheduled to start on Sunday, and did get some warm-up pitches in when it looked as if the game might finally start, but it was not enough to take him out of a chance to go tonight.

Tomlin has held opponents to a .185 average over his first seven starts, and is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA. Tomlin got a no-decision in his last start -- an Indians' 5-4 win over Tampa Bay last Tuesday. In that game Tomlin went six innings and gave up six hits and three runs, walking only one and striking out three.

Tomlin has faced the Royals twice this season, going 1-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 13 1/3 innings against Kansas City. In his previous start in tonight's venue, Tomlin got a no-decision on April 21 in a game the Indians eventually lost 3-2, but Josh gave up only one run in 7 1/3 innings.

For his career against Kansas City Tomlin is 3-1 with a 4.18 ERA.

Kyle Davies was also rained out of his start on Sunday and will get the call tonight for Kansas City. Davies (1-5, 7.08 ERA) will be facing the Indians for the third time this year, going 0-1 in his first two starts, and giving up ten runs in 9 1/3 innings against the Tribe in 2011. However, Davies pitched well in his previous home start against Cleveland, getting a no-decision with six innings wherein he surrendered only two runs.

The Royals are hitting .259 as a team, which ties for eighth in the Majors. Wilson Betemit leads the way with a .317 average, while Jeff Francouer leads in homers with eight. Francouer and Mike Aviles share the team lead in RBI with 26.

Cleveland is tied for fifth in hitting at .264. Travis Hafner is the team leader in average at .340. Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore share the team lead with six round-trippers, while Asdrubal leads with 25 RBI.

The Indians lead the season-series with the Royals, five games to two.

This short series will wrap up on Tuesday night before Cleveland moves on to Chicago for another abbreviated series, that one with the White Sox; the Tribe then returns home on Friday for the first inter-league series of the year, against the Cincinnati Reds.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.