Acta happy to be battling Royals for first place

Acta happy to be battling Royals for first place

Acta happy to be battling Royals for first place
KANSAS CITY -- No one predicted this. On Monday, when the Indians and Royals opened a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium, they occupied the top two spots in the American League Central standings.

At 11-4, Cleveland was in first place and off to its best start since 2002. At 10-5, Kansas City sat in second, off to its best start since 2003. Indians manager Manny Acta said he sees a lot of similarities between the pair of rebuilding ballclubs.

"I do," Acta said. "I don't care how early it is. I'm excited for my ballclub and I'm happy for the Royals. I'm very happy for both towns, both franchises and the young players that we have. This is good for baseball. This is the way it should be.

"We are kind of in the same situation. We started a couple years ago. They have a lot of talented players, and a lot more coming."

The Indians and Royals can only hope that -- no matter how early it is in the season -- their showings are a sign of good things to come. This is the first time since May 31, 1999 that Cleveland and Kansas City held the top two spots (in any order) at least 15 games into a season.

"I'm excited," Acta said. "That's what baseball is all about. I know that last year, at the end, we were fighting for fourth place. Now, three weeks into this season, we're playing a series for first place.

"It's early, yes. But I don't care. I'm happy. I'm excited about my club and I'm happy for them."