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Royals-Indians Preview 2008-09-12


Royals-Indians Preview 2008-09-12
Cliff Lee looks like a lock for his first career AL Cy Young Award. His work against the Kansas City Royals has been a big reason.

Lee looks to win his fifth start this season against the Royals when he takes the mound for the Cleveland Indians on Friday in the opener of a four-game home series.

Lee (21-2, 2.28 ERA) has won his last seven starts and 10 consecutive decisions - the longest winning streak in the majors this season. He owns the majors' lowest ERA, and is the first major league pitcher to win 21 games since Dontrelle Willis won 22 with the Marlins in 2005.

"I really don't think about it that much," Lee said. "I think about preparing each day and doing everything I need to do to get ready for my next start. I don't really reflect back on previous outings and what I've done or look too much ahead of today. That's been a key to me being successful this year. I'm going to continue to have the same mindset."

Lee's last start was against the Royals (62-83) on Sunday. He allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 3-1 win. Lee is 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in four starts against the Royals this season and 11-4 with a 4.49 ERA in 18 career starts against them.

The Royals are hitting .236 against Lee this season. He's struck out 24 over the four starts while only walking four.

"Lee comes right after you," Kansas City's Mark Teahen said. "He doesn't walk too many guys. It doesn't seem like he's really overpowering."

Lee takes the mound as the Indians (71-74) open their final homestand of the season - a 10-game stretch. Cleveland returns home following a 4-3 road trip.

Kansas City, meanwhile, avoided being swept at Minnesota this week, winning 3-2 in 10 innings on Thursday. David DeJesus hit the game-winning single in the 10th after Jose Guillen and Esteban German had the other two RBIs for the Royals.

The Royals, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week, had lost three straight overall and 12 of their last 15 road games.

Gil Meche (11-10, 3.96) takes the mound Friday for Kansas City, which hasn't won back-to-back road games since July.

Meche is 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA since the All-Star break and the Royals are 9-3 in those outings. He allowed one run and three hits over seven innings against Cleveland on Saturday in a 3-1 win. Meche struck out a season-high 10, and his ERA dropped below 4.00 for the first time this season.

"I've been on a good roll, a good 20-something starts I've pitched pretty good," he said.

Meche improved to 2-1 with a 3.99 ERA in five starts against the Indians this season, but has allowed just two earned runs over 14 innings in the last two.

The Royals are 5-9 against the Indians this year.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 12, 2008

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