September 15 Prediction: Bauer Battles Vargas as Indians Aim for 23rd Straight Win

The Cleveland Indians notched their 22nd win in a row after beating the Kansas City Royals in a close 3-2 victory to open their series. The victory put the Tribe past the 1935 and 1880 Cubs (also known as the White Stockings) for the sole possession of Major League Baseball’s second longest winning streak in history.

The Tribe is now just five wins away from passing the 1916 New York Giants’ MLB-record of 26 wins in a row to hold the longest winning streak in baseball history. Trevor Bauer (16-8, 4.33 ERA) will start for the Indians as they seek their 23rd consecutive win to inch closer to the record when they face the Royals and their starter Jason Vargas (15-10, 4.15 ERA) at Progressive Field.

Pitchers

Trevor Bauer, Photo Credit: MLB

 

Bauer added another win after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in his last start after only giving up two runs on seven hits including one homer while he struck out seven batters in 6.1 innings. He hasn’t lost a match since July 16 while he’s gathered a 9-0 record with a solid 2.51 ERA during that span which included a win against the Royals on August 19 when he didn’t allow any runs over 6.1 frames.

Jason Vargas, Photo Credit: MLB

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On the other hand, Vargas also grabbed a win in his last start against the Minnesota Twins after he only gave up one run on four hits while he struck out three batters in five innings. He’s 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA over five games against his upcoming opponents this year but he’s been horrible in his last five starts with a 1-4 record and an 8.34 ERA which included two losses and a 7.45 ERA versus the Indians.

Batters

Kansas City Royals vs Bauer, Photo Credit: MLB

Lorenzo Cain, Photo Credit: MLB

 

Lorenzo Cain has been the most successful batter out of the Royals lineup against Bauer since he’s gotten a total of three runs on six hits including one homer with a .333/.400/.722 slash line and a 1.122 OPS in 18 at bats versus Cleveland’s starter. He’s also been hitting well against right handed pitchers (.313/.372/.438) compared to lefties (.248/.323/.462) this year.

Cleveland Indians vs Vargas, Photo Credit: MLB

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Yan Gomes, Photo Credit: MLB

 

While Yan Gomes is Cleveland’s best bet if they want to beat Vargas since he has a total of two runs on seven hits including one dinger with a .350/.435/.550 stat line and a .985 OPS in 20 at bats versus Kansas City’s starter. He’s been better against lefties (.245/.336/.490) compared to righties (.219/.291/.324) as well this season.

Prediction

Both pitchers and batters from each side have performed well against each other so we can expect another competitive matchup between the two teams. However, Bauer has been clearly better than Vargas lately because the Royals starter has been allowing American League’s fifth highest percentage of hard-hit balls (39.8%) since July according to Statcast – that doesn’t bode well for their upcoming showdown against MLB’s hottest team right now.

Projected Winner: Cleveland Indians

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