Red-hot Salvador Perez to lead Royals vs. Indians

National Sports

Cleveland Indians pitchers need to be ready.

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez has homered in five straight games and he’s coming off a 10-game road trip in which he hit .324 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs. Included in those eight home runs are grand slams in back-to-back games. His OPS for the 10-game trip was 1.378.

The Royals will host the Indians for the first game of a three-game series Tuesday night. The Indians will send right-hander Zach Plesac (8-4, 4.78 ERA) to the mound. The Royals have not yet named a starter.

Perez also has 12 home runs in 26 games this month, which ties the club record in any calendar month (Chili Davis in August 1997, and John Mayberry in July 1975). His 12 homers in August are tied for the third most in any month this year in Major League Baseball, trailing Kyle Schwarber’s 16 in June and Shohei Ohtani’s 13 in June.

Perez’s 38 homers trailed only Ohtani (41) for home runs on the season in MLB entering Monday, when he was named the American League Player of the Week for the first time in his 10-year career.

“I’m so excited with what’s going on right now,” Perez said after Sunday’s 4-3 loss in Seattle. “I always say I love to compete, and we never want to quit. I thank God for everything. I feel really good at the plate right now.”

Even the opposition is impressed.

“That was some kind of offensive show he put on here the last four days,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Every one of them was big, but we had just enough today to get a W and salvage a win in this series.”

Now the task of slowing down Perez falls on the right arm of Plesac.

Plesac has won seven of his last eight decisions, dating back to late April. The Indians are 10-5 in his last 15 starts. The problem for Plesac is that he hasn’t lasted long enough to qualify for the wins. In four of his last five no-decisions, he’s lasted fewer than five innings. He’s pitched 52 1/3 innings in his last 10 starts combined.

“He didn’t have his best stuff today,” catcher Austin Hedges said after Plesac’s last outing against Texas on Aug. 25. “He was still chill the whole time he was out there. I could tell he was confident, but he also knew he didn’t have his best stuff. A lot of times you don’t have your best stuff, you’re not going to be as confident, but he was able to maintain his confidence and just execute pitches and out-execute these guys, and it was nice to see him do that.”

Plesac has faced the Royals just once this season, taking a no-decision July 8, when he allowed three earned runs on five hits in four innings. He has dominated the Royals in his career, going 5-0 with a 2.35 ERA in seven starts.

Plesac has faced Perez twice in his career and struck him out both times. But Perez was never this hot coming into a game.

Even though the Royals have not yet named a starter, they are expecting a strong outing. Royals starters posted a 2.96 ERA on the 10-game road trip.

Despite Sunday’s loss, the Royals have won 10 of 14 games and were 7-3 on the trip through three cities.

–Field Level Media

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