Sizzling pitcher Cal Quantrill leads Cleveland in series opener vs. Royals

MLB Kansas City

Cleveland Indians pitcher Cal Quantrill has elevated his performance to another level in the second half of the season.

He’ll try to maintain that momentum when he takes the mound on Monday afternoon against the visiting Kansas City Royals in a make-up game from a rainout last week.

The Indians and Royals open a three-game series in Kansas City on Tuesday.

Quantrill (7-3, 2.82 ERA) has won his past three starts for Cleveland (76-79), allowing two earned runs in 21 innings over that span.

He owns a 1.76 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break. Only fellow right-hander Max Scherzer of the Los Angeles Dodgers has a lower mark (1.27) in the same time frame.

“He’s just pitching the baseball very well,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. “He’s mixing his repertoire. He’s attacking hitters differently. … He’s almost like not trying to do too much, but staying in his rhythm.”

The Royals (71-84) plan to start rookie right-hander Jackson Kowar in the make-up game.

Kower (0-4, 11.45 ERA) is still seeking his first major-league win.

He didn’t make it out of the first inning in his major-league debut on June 7 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Kowar’s best opportunity at a win came against the Indians on Sept. 1, when he allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, but the Royals couldn’t protect a 3-2 lead after he departed and they eventually lost 5-3 in 11 innings.

His past three outings haven’t been nearly as successful.

“His stuff is so good,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s going to be fun once he stumbles through these ups and downs to where he finds that consistency. When he does, it’s going to be impressive to watch him, I think, for a long time. He has everything, whether it’s the makeup, the work ethic, the ability to understand a game plan and to retain it. He’s got all the tools that you need.”

Kowar said he needs to be more aggressive early in counts, and not try and nibble on the corners as much. He’s also trying to eliminate some of the side-to-side movement that can creep into his delivery.

“It’s something I’ve always fought at every level,” he said of the mechanical flaw. “

It’s frustrating that it continues to be something that holds me up, but we’ll just keep working on it and keep pushing.”

Quantrill, on the other hand, has allowed one run or fewer in 10 of 13 starts since the All-Star break.

“That’s kind of growing into a pro, as I call it, where you start to understand what it takes if you’re going to be a starter,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said, “[You’re] prepared when your time has come. That’s growing into a pro.”

Quantrill faced Kansas City in his last start on Tuesday and allowed one run and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-1 win in Cleveland.

Kansas City took two of three in that series before the fourth game was rained out.

The Royals took two of three at the Detroit Tigers over the weekend as well.

— Field Level Media

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