Texas (55-42) at Kansas City (48-47)
When: Saturday, July 23rd 2016
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Time: 7:15 ET | TV: FS1
The Texas Rangers, who are losing their grip on the American League West, visit the Kansas City Royals for the middle-game of their three-game series on Saturday. Texas dropped to 1-6 since the All-Star Break and their lead over Houston is only 2.5 games now. Rougned Odor provided the only run for the Rangers with his 18th homer of the season but struck out for the ninth consecutive game. Kansas City scored a run in each of the first three innings while Danny Duffy and three relievers combined on a five-hitter to help the Royals to a 3-1 victory. Cheslor Cuthbert homered and Paulo Orlando went 2-for-3 as he has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games. The Royals, who are 2-2 on their nine-game homestand, trail Toronto by five games for the second wild-card spot in the AL and Cleveland by eight for first place in the Central. Texas DH Prince Fielder will receive a second opinion on his neck injury on Monday and then decide whether or not to have season-ending surgery.
Pitchers: Rangers – Cole Hamels (10-2, 3.00 ERA) | Royals – Yordano Ventura (6-7, 4.97)
Cole Hamels registered the only post All-Star Break victory for Texas when he limited the Cubs to an unearned run and four hits while striking out seven over eight innings on Sunday. Hamels was hit hard by the AL-worst Minnesota Twins twice to end the first half of the season, going 0-1 while surrendering 10 runs on 15 hits and nine walks over 8.1 innings. Hamels lost his only career start against Kansas City when he surrendered eight runs on nine hits and four walks in 5.2 innings in April of 2013 while with Philadelphia.
Yordano Ventura broke a three-game losing streak last time out when he registered a no-decision against Detroit allowing only two runs in seven innings. He went 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in his previous three starts. Ventura has made four career starts against Texas, going 2-2 with a 4.84 ERA while recording 22 strikeouts in 22.1 innings.
Hamels has been a streak stopper in his career and I think the Rangers bats will wake-up a bit against Ventura, who is having a rough season. The Kansas City bats are setting the world on fire either, so expect a low-scoring game.
Pick: Rangers -111