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PREVIEW: Indians close out series with Royals Sunday afternoon

CLEVELAND– Despite their 1-0 loss on Saturday to the Kansas City Royals (2-4), the Cleveland Indians (3-5) can still win the series on Sunday afternoon.

Time: 1:10 p.m. ET

Starting Pitchers: CLE Mike Clevinger (1-0, 0.00) vs. KC Jason Hammel (0-1, 9.00)

TV Channel:  SportsTime Ohio

Online: MLB.TV

Radio: WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM, Indians Radio Network

1. Recapping the series so far

Let’s take a quick look back before we take a look ahead. On Saturday afternoon, the Tribe fell to the Royals, 1-0. They recorded six hits while the Royals recorded three, with the most important being a first-pitch solo homer from Lucas Duda in the seventh inning.

On Friday at the home opener, the Indians came away with a 3-2 win after some early runs. All five runs in the game came in the first as the Royals took a quick 2-0 lead, but then the Indians countered in the bottom half of the inning. Jose Ramirez recorded a one-run RBI single, while Michael Brantley had a two-run RBI single in his first at-bat of the 2018 season, plating the go-ahead run.

2. Forecast: Sunshine

Mike Clevinger will take the mound for his second start of the year. Clevinger put together an impressive outing against the L.A. Angels on Monday in his first start, striking out five and walking two while giving up four hits in five and one-third shutout innings. In 32 career Major League starts, Clevinger is 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA.

He will be taking the mound against Jason Hammel, who gave up five runs on seven hits against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

Much like yesterday, both pitchers will have to contend with the elements as the forecasted high in Cleveland is just 33 degrees, making mechanical breakdowns because of the cold a possibility.

“I think the pitcher’s the one guy that’s continuing to move, as long as they can grip the ball, that’s the biggest thing,” manager Terry Francona said pregame. “If they can’t grip the ball all bets are off. As long as they don’t lose the grip I think they have the advantage.”

3. Swing batter

Offensively, the Tribe have obviously not had the hottest offensive start to the season. Over the last two games, they have scored just three runs on 10 hits, stranding 13 runners on base. Overall, the Indians currently rank last in MLB with a .161 team average, and are 29th with just 43 total hits.

While the weather in Cleveland has hardly been ideal for putting a lot of runs up, the Indians will need to do a better job on Sunday of taking advantage of each runner that gets on base, particularly with situational hitting. They also will need to work to get their defense off the field as quickly as possible.

“They’re standing there, that’s the hardest thing,” Francona said. “Brant was saying his eyes were watering. Just gotta fight through.”

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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