CLEVELAND — The streak is over, but the season is not. So the Cleveland Indians, who are 22-1 since Aug. 23, will host the Kansas City Royals on FS1 on Saturday at Progressive Field in the third game of their four-game series.
On Friday, the Royals did something no team had been able to do in over three weeks — beat the Indians. The Royals’ 4-3 victory halted the Indians’ 22-game winning streak, the longest winning streak in the majors in 101 years. The only longer streak was 26 games, by the 1916 New York Giants.
“I don’t think anything is over,” said Indians manager Terry Francona of the end of the streak. “To me, this is a jumping-off point. Where do we go from here? Up.”
Will the end of the streak cause a post-streak hangover for the Indians? Or will they continue to roll toward their second consecutive trip to the postseason?
“The magnitude of the streak didn’t hit me until (Thursday night),” said Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer. “It was a hell of a run.”
The Indians’ magic number for winning the AL Central is two following second-place Minnesota’s loss to Toronto on Friday night.
The Royals, meanwhile, are clinging to the hope they can make a late run and claim a wild-card spot. At the start of play Friday, the Royals were five games out of the second wild-card spot, with the Twins, Angels and Mariners all ahead of them.
“Our guys are going to do all they can to get that wild-card spot,” said Royals manager Ned Yost.
“We’ve got to try to put together a run and then see how it plays out,” said Royals pitcher Jason Vargas. “With the wild card, you’re never out of it until you’re out of it. Nobody here wants to go home.”
Carlos Carrasco will start Saturday for Cleveland. During the Indians’ 22-game winning streak, Carrasco made four starts and was 3-0 with a 0.62 ERA, with 34 strikeouts and one walk in 29 innings. Carrasco’s last start against Kansas City was a 12-0 victory Aug. 27. In that game, Carrasco pitched seven scoreless innings on six hits, with eight strikeouts and no walks.
In two starts against the Royals this year, Carrasco is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA. In 21 career appearances against Kansas City, Carrasco is 8-6 with a 3.46 ERA.
Jason Hammel will start for the Royals. His last start against the Indians came Aug. 26, when he retired the first 16 batters he faced, and then gave up three home runs (Roberto Perez, Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana) in a seven-batter span over the sixth and seventh innings, en route to a 4-0 loss.
In four starts against the Indians this year, Hammel is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA. His last start was Sept. 11, an 11-3 loss to the White Sox in which he lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on 10 hits. In his last five starts this year, he is 3-2 with a 5.72 ERA.