Game 16: Battle at The K
Peering out of the visitors’ dugout at Kauffman Stadium and across the field to the other side, Indians manager Manny Acta sees a lot of similarities between his club and the Royals.
This goes beyond the one game that separates them for the top spot in the American League Central standings.
“I dont care how early it is,” Acta said. “I’m excited for my ballclub and I’m happy for the Royals. I’m very happy for both towns, both franchises and the young players that we have. This is good for baseball. This is the way it should be.
“We are kind of in the same situation. We started a couple years ago. They have a lot of talented players, and a lot more coming.”
Entering Monday’s four-game series, the surging Tribe boasted an 11-4 record — the team’s best start since 2002. The red-hot Royals were 10-5. For a pair of clubs predicted to finish fourth and fifth in the division — and, hey, they still might — it has been a refreshing change of pace.
The last time the Indians and Royals were in first and second place (in any order) at the same time after playing at least 15 games was May 31, 1999. Admittedly getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but the last time they finished first and second in the division was 1995.
“I’m excited,” Acta said. ” That’s what baseball is all about. I know that last year at the end, we were fighting for fourth place. Now, three weeks into this season, we’re playing a series for first place.
“It’s early, yes. But I don’t care. I’m happy. I’m excited about my club and I’m happy for them.”
Here are today’s lineups…
Indians (11-4) at Royals (10-5)
at Kauffman Stadium, 8:10 p.m. ET
1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Michael Brantley, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B
Pitching: RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 5.03)
Pitching: RHP Kyle Davies (1-1, 9.00)