The Cleveland Indians are in Kansas City to start the week with a chance to make some noise.
The Royals currently occupy the top spot in the American League Central division and lead the Indians by three games.
A four-game series is a perfect chance for Cleveland to rise up and stake claim to the division early in May.
That would require breaking past what has been as average a start as a team can have.
Some housekeeping moves:
+ Reinstated OF Franmil Reyes from the Paternity List
+ Recalled OF Harold Ramirez from the Alternate Site
– Optioned OF Daniel Johnson to the Taxi Squad
– Optioned LHP Kyle Nelson#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/ru6Js4sD4I
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) May 3, 2021
More Than Just .500
The Indians enter the week with a record of 13-13.
For all the offseason projections of this team being at either extreme, an average start is better than most could have hoped for.
But the average start goes deeper.
The Indians have a run-differential of 0 so far through 26 games.
They have scored 103 runs and allowed 103 runs to opponents.
It is statistically rare to be so in the middle like this after a month of play.
The quirk comes with where the Indians rank within the Central.
The 103 runs scored is fourth overall, ahead of the Detroit Tigers who are a disaster with only 79 runs through 29 games.
Meanwhile, the Indians have allowed the fewest runs of any team in the division.
The Chicago White Sox are second at 106.
Then there is the first-place Royals.
Kansas City actually has a negative run-differential heading into Monday.
What all these numbers show is how the Cleveland pitching staff is keeping the team in contention this year.
Similar Results Home and Away
The fascinating numbers continue.
The Indians are a bit better at home on the year with a 7-6 record.
On the road?
Not too much worse at 6-7.
The upcoming series against the Royals will hopefully be the start of positive change this season.
However, that has been written here on this site multiple times over the past few weeks.
The Indians have stayed true around the .500 mark.
If anything, that does show resilience in the face of adversity.
Taking three of four or sweeping the Royals, however, would finally prove this division is truly wide open.
That is likely already true given all the injuries plaguing the White Sox early in the season.
The Minnesota Twins are struggling as well with a 10-16 record.
At some point, the Indians will earn respect and taking down the team in first place would do that while simultaneously getting the club out of this back-and-forth of never getting above-average results.
Another dozen Clase pitches today at 99 MPH or faster! 138 for the season and only Jacob deGrom has more! 🔥⛽️🔥 https://t.co/3BuvEHBxUY
— Codify, Inc. (@CodifyBaseball) May 2, 2021
The pitching cannot keep bailing out the offense over the course of a full 162-game schedule.
Having one of the lowest run totals in baseball will hurt the Indians if things don’t change soon.