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Game 154 Open Thread - Royals vs. Rangers

Jeremy Guthrie vs. Matt Garza

Jamie Squire

The Kansas City Royals will look to keep pace in the AL Wild Card race tonight when they play the second game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium.

Jeremy Guthrie will start the game for Kansas City. Guthrie has been who we thought he was, maybe a little better. The Stormin' Mormon owns a 4.08 ERA with a 4.50 FIP over 198 2/3 innings. He has pitched to contact all season, but has kept his ERA respectable thanks to a 78% strand rate.

I'm spitballing here, but maybe it's time to put the #EmbracetheLuck element of Guthrie's season to rest. Yes, his ERA is lower than his FIP, and his strand rate will probably not repeat itself. But he's managed a career ERA- of 98 despite a FIP- of 110, with 1400 innings as a sample size. Given the Royals stellar defense, his numbers haven't been unreasonably better than projections.

It's certainly fortunate that the 34-year-old hasn't shown any signs of his stuff slipping or suffered any injury, but that's almost true of any pitcher. I'm not totally sure of my point here, other than it's possible Guthrie's three-year deal no longer looks terrible, if he can stay healthy.

Ned Yost is not making any drastic changes to the lineup, which is a nice sign. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star brings us the Royals starting nine:

Someday, Lorenzo Cain will play center field even when Jarrod Dyson is in the game.

Matt Garza will take the mound for the Rangers. The right-hander has been unspectacular in Texas; he owns a 4.94 ERA with a 4.04 FIP. His strikeout and walk numbers have remained similar since being traded from the Chicago Cubs, but his BABIP has risen 40 points and and his strand rate has dropped 18%.

Elvis Andrus is hitting 21 percent below-league average, but has consistently hit in the No. 2 hole. It's like Ron Washington is trying to get himself fired after this season. The Rangers official Twitter account brings us their batting order:

Not re-signing Josh Hamilton was the correct decision, but this team sorely misses his production he gave them.

Tonight's game is on MLB Network, so hopefully that is included in your cable package. In scoreboard watching news, the Rays and Yankees have already won, while the Indians game starts at 5:05 CT.

Song of the Day: Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star

I have little to say about EWF and this song, other than they are awesome. I love the bass line in this track.