Kansas City Royals

Royals-Indians series preview, probable pitchers: KC starts road trip in Ohio

Matchup: The Royals (27-51) begin a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians (42-35) on Monday night at Progressive Field in Ohio. First pitch on Monday and Tuesday is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CDT. Wednesday’s game is scheduled for a 12:10 p.m. CDT start.

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Kansas City will televise all three games, and KCSP (610 AM) have the radio broadcasts.

Season series: Royals lead 3-0.

Probable rotations: Cleveland: Adam Plutko (rh, 3-1, 4.55), Shane Bieber (rh, 6-3, 3.86), Trevor Bauer (rh, 5-6, 3.69); Kansas City: Brad Keller (rh, 3-9, 4.45), Glenn Sparkman (rh, 2-3, 3.62), Jakob Junis (rh, 4-6, 5.18).

Royals notes: A 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins gave the Royals a series split in their four-game set. They’ve now won five of eight games and have gone 2-1-1 in their last four series. … Whit Merrifield collected his 26th multi-hit game of the season, which leads the team. He enters this week leading the majors in hits (98), and he’s on pace for 204 hits. Merrifield’s slash line through 78 games is .302/.349/.498, and he’s hit 10 home runs and stolen 11 bases. … Glenn Sparkman has made six starts this season and eight relief appearances. In his six starts, he’s posted a 3.38 ERA, held opponents to a .220 batting average against (compared to .315 in relief), posted a 2.67 strikeouts per walk (compared to 1.83) as well as a 1.03 WHIP (compared to 1.64).

Indians notes: Cleveland continues a six-game home stand after having swept three games against the Detroit Tigers. First baseman Carlos Santana and left fielder Jordan Luplow each hit home runs in a 7-6 win on Sunday. … Santana enters the week batting .295 with 17 home runs and 47 RBIs. He’s posted a .416 on-base percentage and a .541 slugging percentage. In his past 15 games, Santana has slashed .327/.478/.692 with six home runs, 10 RBIs and 15 walks. … Wednesday’s scheduled starting pitcher Trevor Bauer ranks second in the American League in innings pitched (112 1/3 in 17 starts) and ranks fifth in strikeouts (122) as well as eighth in batting average against (.209).

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.