We keep waiting for the Kansas City Royals to go on a big tear to take the American League Central over, but it hasn’t happened, at least not yet. Although, the Royals did take a bite out of the Texas Rangers last night, a 3-1 win to start the weekend off on the right foot. The Royals are trying to take advantage of a team who has been getting beat up lately. With the loss last night, the Rangers have gone 0-4 in their last four games, including 2-8 in their past ten. For a team who started out the season so well, suddenly seems to be going in the wrong direction.
The Rangers at 55-42, are in danger of throwing their season away if they can’t find their footing soon. In any case, they still aren’t in a bad position despite the horrid run of late. They can endure this, but they can’t let it manifest itself into August as well. The Rangers are holding on to 1st in the American League West, ahead of the Astros by 2.5 games. But how much longer are they going to be there for? The Astros are trending upward, while the opposite is true for the Rangers.
It’d be some kind of surprise if the Rangers toss away the division, along with a wildcard spot. Nothing has been going their way, but I’d be surprised if they fail to find the postseason. It would amount to a major collapse on the Rangers’ side. At this point, the Tigers seem to have won the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade. Fielder has 8 home runs this season, with an abysmal .212 batting average.
By the looks of it Fielder may miss the rest of the season with a neck injury. This could have been the season the Rangers got their money worth with Fielder, as the rest of the team has been performing for the most part. However, as everybody else played well, Fielder was playing poorly and is now dealing with a serious injury. The Astros smell blood in the water. Let’s see if the Royals can deliver another blow to the Rangers today on Saturday.
Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals
Cole Hamels (10-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. Yordano Ventura (6-7, 4.97 ERA)
Cole Hamels has to do his best to play the role of leader on this roster. The wily veteran, who was voted to the All-Star Game this season, has had a pretty successful season by his accord. Oddly enough, the only team that has been able to hit him lately is the Minnesota Twins. In back-to-back starts, Hamels got railed for 5 runs each against the Twins. When a team has a pitcher’s number, they have his number. Hamels followed it up with a strong start versus the Chicago Cubs, delivering 8 innings of 0 run baseball. He allowed just 4 hits on the game, stifling a powerful Cubs’ lineup. In six of his last nine starts, Hamels has held opposing teams to less than 3 runs per game.
Hamels should feel at “home” on the road in Kansas City. Note that he has a 1.84 ERA and 7-1 record on the road, compared to a 4.53 ERA at home. His opponent tonight, Yordano Ventura, could be much more than what he really is. The Royals were anticipating Ventura turning into an ace. However, what the Royals have gotten is an adequate, average pitcher that has never been able to get over that hump. The often disliked Ventura, has posted a 4.86 ERA this season. He’s posted a 4.86 ERA his last three outings. The Rangers are stuck in a skid, but I think this losing streak ends at four games. Hamels pitches well and gets the Rangers back on track today.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN -115