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Royals-Indians Opening Weekend Series Preview

Whit Merrifield swinging his bat.

A day that a lot of baseball fans have been waiting for is almost here. Opening weekend of the 2020 Major League Baseball season is upon us. The Royals just finished playing three exhibition games against the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cleveland Indians also played three exhibition games, but against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams look to get off to a hot start, and that will start this weekend where both teams clash.

Overview of Cleveland Indians

Francisco Lindor throwing a baseball.

In 2019, Cleveland finished 93-69 and finished second in the AL Central, eight games behind the Minnesota Twins. The Indians brought back most of the 2019 team, also adding 2B Cesar Hernandez to be their everyday second-baseman. The team will heavily rely on one of the best shortstops in the game, Francisco Lindor, to lead them to the top of the AL Central Division. Other key bats that you will see on opening weekend are Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, and Franmil Reyes.

Probable Indians Starters

Cleveland’s starting rotation is going to be tough to hit off of this opening weekend. The Indians have confirmed that Shane Bieber will be the Opening Day starter for them. Bieber last year went 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 259 strikeouts (3rd in MLB). Mike Clevinger will take the mound on Saturday’s mid-afternoon game followed by Carlos Carrasco on Sunday.

Overview of Kansas City Royals

adalberto mondesi throwing a baseball during a spring training game.

The Royals finished in 4th place in the AL Central with a record of 59-103. They have a new skipper in town – Mike Matheny – who was recently the manager for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012-2018. K.C. has a lot of young players that they’ve been trying to get to progress throughout the last few seasons. Last season, Jorge Soler slugged a total of 48 home runs (most in the American League) and Whit Merrifield led the league in hits with 206.

However, the Royals have been hit hard by COVID-19 and have had to place several players on the inactive list due to this. C Salvador Perez is one player who had to miss some time back in summer camp, but now has re-joined the club. Brad Keller, Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn are all currently out due to testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, SP Jake Junis is currently on the 10-day IL because of a positive COVID-19 test. Junis will require more work before he plays in the 2020 season.

Probable Royals Starters

Danny Duffy will be the Opening Day starter for K.C. this season, after mainly being the third man in the rotation. After that, Saturday is going to be the Major League debut of one of the Royals’ top prospects in Brady Singer.

Royals Manager Mike Matheny, said this about the work that Brady Singer put in this spring and summer, to Jeffrey Flanagan at MLB.com

“He earned it. He came in here and he made us watch him and how well he competed. Every bullpen, every outing, his training, this kid … everything lined up that this kid is ready.”

The Royals have not announced a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game yet but all signs point to Mike Montgomery.

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