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News » Indians-Royals Preview 2009-04-15

Indians-Royals Preview 2009-04-15

Indians-Royals Preview 2009-04-15
Sidney Ponson didn't have an easy time against one of his many former teams in his Kansas City Royals debut. His next start might not be any easier.

On Wednesday, the veteran right-hander again looks for his first victory against the Cleveland Indians while trying to help the Royals sweep a three-game set from their AL Central Division foe at Kauffman Stadium.

Ponson (0-1, 6.00 ERA) allowed four runs and six hits while striking out five and walking three in six innings of a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday.

"I thought Ponson did a good job, the way he battled," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Signed to a minor league contract by Kansas City (5-3) after making two starts for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, Ponson earned a spot in the rotation after going 8-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 24 starts between Texas and the Yankees last season.

Though his manager felt the 32-year-old was solid last week, Ponson hopes to do better.

"It was a heartbreaking loss," said Ponson, who recorded his 1,000th career strikeout. "But tomorrow's a new day."

His next start comes against a Cleveland team against which he's 0-7 with a 9.15 ERA in 12 career starts.

Despite those struggles, Ponson will now face a club that's 1-7 and looking to avoid a sixth straight road loss after falling 9-3 on Tuesday.

John Buck hit two home runs - including a grand slam to highlight a five-run eighth inning - and had five RBIs for the Royals, who last swept Cleveland in a three-game set May 8-10, 2006.

David DeJesus, Billy Butler and Mike Jacobs also had two hits each Tuesday for Kansas City, which scored one less run than in its first five games combined while winning its third in a row.

"That is the type of game our team was designed to win," Buck said. "In the past we might have let it go, let it slip, but we expect to win those types of games."

Buck, the team's backup catcher behind Miguel Olivo, is 6-for-12 with three home runs and eight RBIs in three games this season. Though it's uncertain if he'll be back in the lineup, Buck is batting .343 (12-for-35) in his last 10 games against the Indians.

Victor Martinez was one of four players with two hits Tuesday for Cleveland, which hasn't opened with six straight road losses since 1969.

"Not the start we expected," said manager Eric Wedge, whose team stranded 16 runners Tuesday after leaving 12 on base in a 4-2 loss Monday. "We've got to come to the park expecting good things to happen."

Martinez is batting .394 (13-for-33) for a team that's hitting .246.

Last in the majors with an 8.46 staff ERA, Cleveland will call up Aaron Laffey from Triple-A Columbus to start this contest. He was 5-7 with a 4.23 ERA in 16 starts for the Indians last season.

The left-hander, who will be starting on his 24th birthday, replaces the injured Scott Lewis in the rotation. Laffey is 2-2 with a 2.59 ERA in four career games against the Royals.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 15, 2009

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