Rubber match: Cleveland

9-7 Lee and Greinke.jpgNo full Around the Horn today, we’re going to get into it quick in anticipation of what should be a pitcher’s duel today at the K. Cliff Lee (20-2 2.32 ERA) and Zack Grienke (10-9, 3.67 ERA) square off.

Lee is the American League’s only 20-game winner so far this season and ERA king, while Greinke has put up career highs for strikeouts, quality starts and will probably top his innings and starts highs before the season ends. So, let’s get to it…

Strikeouts are fun
Starters Gil Meche and Zack Greinke are a turning out to be a strikeout tandem that the Royals haven’t seen the likes of for a while. Between the two, they’ve amassed 317 punch outs this season (158 for Meche and 159 for Greinke, which are both career highs). They current sit at No. 5 and 6 in the American League. As a 1-2 punch, they are third best in the A.L. behind Toronto’s A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay who have 386 and the Angels’ Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver who sit at 324.

8-5 Meche.jpgMeche and Greinke are the first pair of Royals starters to go over 150 since 1993 when David Cone (191) and Kevin Appier (186) accomplished the feat. By season’s end, Greinke and Meche might be approaching that lofty air, but for now, look for them to take down the 1997 duo of Appier (196) and Jose Rosado (129) who reached 325.

With Greinke throwing today, look for the Royals tandem to challenge the 1997 duo and for second in the A.L. The Angels aren’t throwing Weaver or Santana and Greinke had 8 strikeouts last Tuesday and is averaging 9.3 K’s a start over his last seven (8.1 this season in 28 starts). 

Couple Other Notes: The Royals are 6-4 this season in rubber games…Joakim Soria tied Dan Quisenberry on the Royals all-time season saves list with his 35th save last night…The Royals hit the road for six tomorrow night with a 3-game series in Minnesota starting Tuesday and begin their final homestand a week from tomorrow with four games against Seattle (RETRO-PRICING). Fan Appreciation ends the final homestand with three games versus Chicago (BE A HOT DOG).

Tonight’s lineup:
DeJesus RF
Aviles SS
Guillen DH
Butler 1B
Teahen 3B
Buck C
Callaspo 2B
German LF
Gathright CF

Greinke P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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