Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers
Dates: Thursday, April 20 – Sunday, April 23, 2017
Location: Globe Life Park in Arlington
Fresh off playing eight straight in front of the hometown faithful, the Royals hit the road looking to improve upon their 2-4 record as visitors. To date, Ned Yost’s squad has split its first 14 games for an $83 return on investment for baseball bettors. Eric Hosmer and his mates do however sit $99 in the red on the road, and have dropped each of their last four in Arlington by an average of 2.8 runs per game.
Texas defied the odds a short season ago by winning an inexplicable amount of one run games. Through their first 15 games of 2017, their 0-4 in games decided by a single run. The regression fairies are no doubt doing work early on. Over the course of their current mini slump, the Rangers have scored two or less runs four times and one or less three times. The bullpen has also been a hot mess. Not a good recipe against an opponent that’s pitching the heck out of the ball and doesn’t kill itself by committing errors.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Thursday, April 20, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( MLB Network )
Danny Duffy vs. Andrew Cashner
The Royals have gotten absolutely nothing done with their sticks early on. Thankfully, the starting staff has allowed for the team to be competitive with it pitching to a 3.49 ERA ( No. 8 ) and tossing the fourth most quality starts ( 9 ). Duffy owns three of those quality efforts, and enters his fourth off tossing back-to-back seven inning gems at the Astros and Angels. KC has won each of his last two starts, but stands a bankroll killing 3-7 the last 10 times he took to the starting bump ( -$563 ).
Cashner came off the DL and threw 5.1 innings of 3 ER ball in a game the Rangers were shutout by James Paxton and the Mariners 5-0. This will be his first career start at Globe Life Park, so it will be interesting to see how his stuff translates in the hitter’s haven. He’s got a good matchup against a struggling Royals team he owns a career 2.70 ERA and .268 BAA against through a pair of starts.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Nathan Karns vs. Cole Hamels
Since being installed into the starting rotation, Karns has conceded just a pair of earned runs in his two starts. However, he’s only amassed a 6:4 K/BB ratio as a starter, and that simply isn’t going to get the job done when he’s given up almost as many hits as innings pitched. He owns a career 6.32 ERA versus the Rangers who’ve raked him for a .313 BAA the two times he threw at them in Globe Life Park.
Hamels enters his fourth start of the season in search of his first win and third quality start in four tries. This will be his fourth career start against the Royals whom he’s 2-1 against with a 4.74 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. Texas has dropped each of his last two home starts where he’s only thrown quality efforts two of the last five times. Only Seattle has been worse against lefties to date, so this is a favorable matchup.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers - Saturday, April 22, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Ian Kennedy vs. A.J. Griffin
Kennedy bounced back from a poor season opener at Minnesota by allowing just 8 hits and 2 ER to the A’s and Angels at home. He racked up an impressive 14:4 K/BB ratio during that stretch, but unfortunately failed to earn a win due to his offense mustering up a grand total of 1 run in both games. Only one of his last five road starts have been of quality, and he’s 0-2 with a 5.29 ERA and .294 BAA through three career Globe Life starts.
Griffin has had the benefit of matching up against the A’s and Angels over the course of his first three starts. Each team has gotten out to shoddy offensive starts. That’s also the case with the Royals, so A.J. will have a great shot at leading Texas to a 4-0 record in his fourth start of the season. The righty has tossed quality efforts in each of his last two starts, and enters this one coming just one K short of his career high ( 9 ). He’s 5-2 with a 5.24 ERA in 11 career Arlington starts.
Game 4 Probable Pitchers - Sunday, April 23, 2017, 3:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Jason Hammel vs. Yu Darvish
The Royals have lost all three of Hammel’s starts to date, but he’ll enter his fourth trip to the bump off his finest showing of the young season after tossing 6 innings of 6 hit and 1 ER ball at the Giants. He owns a pedestrian 9:7 K/BB ratio, and his inability to punch batters out via the K could play a role here in an unforgiving park like Globe Life where he’s 0-2 in lifetime with a 5.68 ERA and .316 BAA.
Darvish’s 3.28 ERA and 1.14 WHIP are tops on the team. As are his 23 Ks through his 24.2 innings pitched over four starts. However, he’s averaging 4.3 walks per nine innings and his wildness has only seen him pitch through the 7th inning one time. Yu is supposed to be the team’s staff ace, but he’s not pitching like it right now. That should change here today against a Royals team batting .227 against righties whom he’s 1-1 against with a 2.25 ERA lifetime.