Hot weather could impact Indians, Royals lineups
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians lineups may have some different faces Wednesday.
Not only is it an afternoon game after a night game, but the temperature is forecasted to reach 97 degrees with a heat index of close to 110 and a humidity of 60 percent.
An extreme hot and humid day will likely force managers Ned Yost of the Royals and Terry Francona of the Indians to rest some usual starters.
"You almost have to because the heat is stifling and the heat index is going to be even worse," Yost said. "At least when the sun goes down, it's bearable out here.
"But you can see you have to be prepared. You saw what happened to (Corey) Kluber last (Monday) night. He just got dehydrated and started suffering cramps."
Kluber left after some warmup pitches in the eighth inning with his right calf cramping.
"We're going to have to look and see who needs a break, probably Salvy for sure," Yost said.
Salvador Perez not only started the All-Star Game, but has caught the first five games after it. Expect Drew Butera to be behind the plate for the first pitch Wednesday.
In addition, left-fielder Alex Gordon could use a break. He is 2-for-17 since the All-Star break, dropping his average to .200. He has struck out four times in seven at-bats against the Indians, bringing his strikeout total to an alarming 72 in 215 at-bats.
Plus, Gordon is a .154 hitter, 4-for-26, off Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who starts Wednesday. However, two of Gordon's hits off Carrasco are home runs.
Rookie Brett Eibner, who has sat out the past four games after playing Friday, will almost certainly start Wednesday somewhere in the outfield. Christian Colon will likely start somewhere in the infield.
Outfielder Michael Brantley not only will not be in the Indians lineup Wednesday, but could be out for the remainder of the season after another setback on his shoulder while rehabbing with Double-A Akron.
"We're not to that point, yet," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "We want to try to first understand what's going on. What is causing this to continue to happen? What is the root of the soreness he is experiencing now? And, how do we help him through that?"
Brantley, who has been limited to 11 games this season because of the shoulder issues, will have an MRI Wednesday. He hit .327 with 20 home runs and 97 RBIs in 2014 and .310 with 15 home runs and 84 RBIs in 137 games last season, but had shoulder surgery in November.
"There has been a couple times where he's come up to me and apologized," Francona said. "His effort has been incredible. All the reasons we want him back, and the admiration we have for him, doesn't go away when his shoulder hurts."
Eric Hosmer has a .333 average, 7-for-21, off Carrasco, which is the best of any of the Royals' hitters with at least 14 at-bats. Rookie Whit Merrifield went 2-for-3 with a home run earlier this season in his only time seeing Carrasco.
The Royals will start right-hander Ian Kennedy, who will be facing the Tribe for the fourth time this season. He is 2-1 with a 4.12 ERA in his first three starts. He is 3-3 with a 4.02 ERA in eight starts against American League Central clubs this season.