Cleveland at Kansas City

Venue: Kauffman Stadium
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While the Kansas City Royals own the AL's worst record, they've been anything but lousy against the Cleveland Indians of late.

Kansas City aims for its first three-game sweep of slumping Cleveland in six seasons Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals (43-60) continue to make things difficult on the Indians (50-54), outscoring them 44-22 while winning six of the last seven meetings. Luis Mendoza threw 7 1-3 strong innings before Greg Holland - in his first chance since replacing recently traded Jonathan Broxton - earned the save in Wednesday's 5-2 victory.

Kansas City hasn't completed a three-game sweep of Cleveland since May 8-10, 2006.

The Indians, meanwhile, have dropped 10 of 13 - including a season worst-tying five in a row by a 41-11 margin. Batting .165 during its skid, Cleveland hasn't lost six straight since a seven-game slide June 19-26, 2010.

"The losing streak is disappointing ... We'll get another opportunity tomorrow to come in and try to get a win," losing pitcher Zach McAllister said.

With its recent poor play, third-place Cleveland appears to be in danger of falling out of postseason contention. The Indians sit seven games behind AL Central-leading Chicago and in the bottom half of the wild-card standings.

"It's been a rough five days," manager Manny Acta said. " ... I never expect to lose any game. I never expect to lose five in a row but it is the big leagues and it is tough to win games up here. Things can change fast."

While most teams would surely be looking forward to facing Bruce Chen (7-9, 5.49 ERA), he's recently given Cleveland fits. The left-hander has gone 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA over seven starts against the Indians since 2010, shutting down several of their hitters.

Jose Lopez is 2 for 18 lifetime against Chen while Shin-Soo Choo is 3 for 16 with six strikeouts. Jack Hannahan and Casey Kotchman are a combined 1 for 12.

Chen allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks over five innings in a 6-3 victory at Cleveland on May 30. The Indians are hitting .219 - the second-worst mark in baseball - against left-handed pitchers this season.

Chen has to be glad to have seen July come and go after he went 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in six starts last month. He yielded three runs and seven hits over six innings Saturday but didn't factor in the decision of a 4-3 loss at Seattle.

Chen had won four consecutive home starts May 9-June 26 before allowing 10 runs and five homers in 10 innings over his last two, going without a decision in both.

It's unknown if Chen will have to face Travis Hafner, who didn't play Wednesday after being placed on the paternity list. Hafner is 4 for 30 (.133) in his last nine games against Kansas City.

The Indians will give right-hander Corey Kluber his first big league start after designating veteran Derek Lowe for assignment on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Kluber, who compiled an 8.31 ERA in three relief appearances last September, went 11-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 21 starts for Triple-A Columbus, striking out 128 over 125 1-3 innings.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

, -HP
2012 stats
- Innings Pitched -
--- Wins-Losses ---
- Earned Run Average -
- Walks -
- Strikeouts -
0.0 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
- Innings Pitched 57.2
--- Wins-Losses 6-3
- Earned Run Average 4.84

, -HP
Weather
weather image  Partly sunny. Hot.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
92°F75°F7mph/E61%32%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Cleveland3rd AL Central8577.52556-4 W 1
Kansas City2nd AL Central8973.54916-4 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Luis Mendoza
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Kotchman64020.667
Lillibridge21000.500
Hafner42110.500
Lopez63010.500
Cabrera62000.333
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Zach McAllister
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Cain000000
Chen000000
Coleman000000
Collins000000
Crow000000
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Cleveland 135 Kansas City -145
Injuries
Cleveland
PlayerInjury
J. KipnisHamstring
N. MorganKnee
R. RaburnKnee
N. SwisherKnee
Kansas City
PlayerInjury
L. HochevarElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 13MIN 4:10 PM EDT  
Apr 15MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Apr 16MIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Apr 20KC   
Apr 21KC   
Apr 22KC   
Jun 8MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Jun 9MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Jun 10MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 2KC   
Jul 3KC   
Jul 4KC   
Jul 5KC   
Sep 7KC   
Sep 8KC   
Sep 9KC   
Oct 2MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Oct 3MIN   
Oct 4MIN 2:10 PM EDT