So when the two oppose each other in the middle game of the series on Saturday, something has to give -- at least one would think.
They've combined for only two wins since Aug. 14 -- both belonging to Smith.
Jimenez last won on Aug. 9 against Boston but has struggled since, going 0-5 with a 6.05 ERA over seven starts.
But Jimenez's last outing was encouraging. He held the Tigers to only two earned runs over six innings -- not enough for a personal victory, but enough for a Cleveland win thanks to Lonnie Chisenhall's walk-off home run.
Jimenez was delighted -- even though it didn't result in his 10th win of the season.
"It's about time we did that," he said. "It's really exciting, especially after the kind of season that we've been through."
Smith is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA over his last five starts -- including a seven scoreless innings against the Twins on Sept. 11.
Instead of continuing those kind of performances, the rookie left-hander will look to rekindle the magic from his second career start against the Indians on May 29. Smith turned in one of his best outings, holding Cleveland to two runs on four hits over six innings.
Indians: Hernandez struggles in simulated game
Right-hander Roberto Hernandez threw a simulated game on Friday, but didn't quite exactly show what the Indians were hoping to see from him. Manager Manny Acta said Hernandez threw three innings and participated in pitchers' fielding practice, but didn't look confident enough for Acta to want to put him in a real game.
Hernandez hasn't played since Aug. 27, when he sprained his right ankle against the A's. Acta said he will throw another simulated game in Chicago on Wednesday before the Indians make a firmer decision.
Travis Hafner is still hitless since returning from lower back inflammation. The designated hitter played his second game on Friday after missing 40 games on the DL, but went 0-for-3. He is 0-for-6 in two games since his return.
Royals: Perez, Gordon sit out Friday's game
Injuries forced Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon out of the starting lineup in Friday's series opener. Perez is nursing sore hands due to foul balls and will likely miss the entire series. Gordon injured his hand while sliding across home during Thursday's win against the White Sox. He entered as a late-inning defensive replacement in the Royals' 6-3 win.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas enters Saturday's contest with a streak of 43 consecutive errorless games. He also led all Major League third basemen entering Friday's game with 301 assists and 119 putouts on 431 total chances while committing only 11 errors.
Cleveland leads the all-time series, 300-286, but the Royals own a 140-127 advantage at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City has won six straight against the Indians and eight of the teams' last nine meetings.