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Royals series preview: Texas Rangers

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Two struggling offenses meet in a stadium. Horror ensues.

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Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics
Yu got it, dude.
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Considered a contender for the American League West pennant heading into the season, the Texas Rangers have gotten off to a sluggish 5-10 start, the second-worst in the baseball, better than only the Toronto Blue Jays. Similarly undone by their bullpen, the Rangers’ 12 meltdowns are second only to the Cubs’ 13.

  • Thursday, April 20, 4:20 7:05 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (LHP) vs. Andrew Cashner (RHP)
  • Friday, April 21, 7:05 CDT - Nate Karns (RHP) vs. Cole Hamels (LHP)
  • Saturday, April 22, 7:05 CDT - Ian Kennedy (RHP) vs. A.J. Griffin (RHP)
  • Sunday, April 23, 1:05 CDT - Jason Hammel (RHP) vs. Yu Darvish (RHP)

numberFire, whose Alex McDonald emails me with their odds for the series, handicaps the series as follows:

In the first game of the series, we give the Royals a 51.32% chance to win.

In the second game, a 46.56% chance.

In the third game, a 47.98% chance.

And in the fourth game, a 44.32% chance.

Our projections will update with any news that comes out up to the start of the game.

Royals vs. Rangers pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Danny Duffy (L) 3 20.0 17 22.1 7 9.1 1.80 3.70 4.15 3.95 0.3 0.8
Andrew Cashner 1 5.1 2 8.7 3 13 5.06 3.84 5.03 5.40 0.1 -0.1
Nathan Karns 3 12.1 8 15.4 6 11.5 4.38 4.36 4.59 4.53 0.0 0.1
Cole Hamels (L) 3 18.0 11 14.7 7 9.3 3.50 5.51 4.93 4.77 -0.1 0.1
Ian Kennedy 3 19.0 19 25.3 9 12.0 2.37 3.01 4.33 4.03 0.4 0.7
A.J. Griffin 3 15.1 16 26.7 4 6.7 4.11 4.34 3.96 3.43 0.2 0.2
Jason Hammel 3 15.2 9 12.7 7 9.9 4.60 3.09 5.42 5.33 0.3 0.0
Yu Darvish 4 24.2 23 23.5 12 12.2 3.28 3.55 3.72 4.14 0.3 0.5

It would appear as though the Royals and Rangers have an advantage in starting pitching in two games apiece. Andrew Cashner has had just one start, though no one would confuse him with a great starting pitcher, as ZiPS has him projected to be worth just 1.0 fWAR this year. Though it is early, Cole Hamels has been roughly replacement-level so far this season. Of course, as a southpaw, he should enjoy facing a slumping Royals lineup where he can immobilize Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, and potentially Mike Moustakas. A.J. Griffin’s last start was six sterling innings of one-hit, one-walk, eight-strikeout ball against the same Oakland squad that gave Kansas City nightmares. Yu Darvish is pretty cool.

Rangers position players

Player Pos. PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos. PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Elvis Andrus SS 58 3 9 4 4 .321 .345 .589 .398 159 0.7 0.8
Nomar Mazara RF 62 4 12 17 1 .328 .371 .586 .406 165 0.6 0.5
Joey Gallo 3B 52 2 7 9 2 .178 .288 .400 .302 91 0.2 0.1
Carlos Gomez CF 64 3 9 6 0 .164 .281 .382 .295 86 0.1 0.2
Rougned Odor 2B 58 3 6 8 0 .214 .241 .446 .294 85 0.1 0.5
Shin-Soo Choo DH 50 1 6 7 0 .238 .360 .333 .317 102 0.1 0.1
Jonathan Lucroy C 44 1 5 4 0 .190 .227 .262 .219 31 0.0 -0.1
Jurickson Profar LF/Util 30 0 4 2 0 .174 .345 .174 .263 63 -0.1 0.0
Mike Napoli 1B 61 2 5 6 0 .148 .233 .296 .224 35 -0.4 -0.4
Bench
Robinson Chirinos C 11 1 4 6 0 .400 .455 .800 .526 252 0.3 0.3
Ryan Rua OF 18 0 4 0 0 .118 .167 .118 .136 -28 -0.2 -0.3
Delino DeShields OF 10 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 -0.3 -0.1

As a unit, the Rangers offense has gotten off to a slow start in 2017. They are slashing .217/.290/.397 with a .299 wOBA and an 89 wRC+. It’s not quite Royals bad, but they’ve only been worth 1.0 fWAR thus far, putting them at the 23rd-ranked set of position players. Thus far, Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara’s hot starts have fueled what little offense they’ve had. Much like the Royals, they’ve suffered the ignominy of having the worst BABIP as a team in the American League, sporting a woeful .248 mark heading into action yesterday.

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference.

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Poll

Who will win the series?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Royals sweep
    (28 votes)
  • 35%
    Royals win three of four
    (118 votes)
  • 47%
    Split
    (159 votes)
  • 6%
    Rangers take three of four
    (21 votes)
  • 1%
    Rangers sweep
    (6 votes)
332 votes total Vote Now