In stark contrast to last season at the break where they led the American League West by 5.5 games, the Texas Rangers trail the Houston Astros by 16.5 games. Of course the Astros are one of two teams who have passed the 60-win mark, so part of the deficit in the division is due to the fact that the Astros are the best team in the AL by a rather wide margin. Still the fact remains that the Rangers are two games under .500 coming out of the All-Star Break and sit three back in the Wild Card hunt, with four teams sitting between them and a spot.
The Rangers look to gain ground on the Royals in the hunt for a playoff spot and will send arguably their best three starting pitchers to the mound as they come to Kansas City looking to reverse their fortunes in the second half.
Alex McDonald over at numberFire sent me their odds for each tilt. They are as follows:
The Royals start a new series against Texas, and here are our game projections for those games.
In the first game of the series, we give the Royals a 48.08% chance to win.
In the second game, a 50.38% chance.
And in the third game, a 48.68% chance.
The game times and pitching matchups are as follows:
- Friday, July 14, 7:15 PM CDT - Martin Perez (L) versus Jason Hammel
- Saturday, July 15, 6:15 PM CDT - Cole Hamels (L) versus Danny Duffy (L)
- Sunday, July 16, 1:15 PM CDT - Yu Darvish versus Ian Kennedy
Rangers vs. Royals pitching matchups
|Martin Perez (L)||16||88.0||64||16.2||36||9.1||4.60||4.28||4.62||5.02||1.2||0.7|
|Cole Hamels (L)||8||51.1||28||13.8||17||8.4||3.51||4.61||4.98||5.13||0.6||1.0|
|Danny Duffy (L)||13||81.1||67||19.8||27||8.0||3.76||3.76||4.66||4.61||1.6||2.1|
Yu Darvish is inarguably the ace of this staff when healthy, and healthy he has been. His strikeout total ranks him third in the American League and 11th in baseball, and his K-BB% is the 7th-best mark in the AL and 16th overall. He should prove the toughest matchup for the Royals, though Martin Perez and Cole Hamels each present their own problems, namely their handedness.
Hamels has made three starts since hitting the disabled list in April with an oblique strain. His first was an unmitigated disaster. His second was solid. His third was sterling. Though he has made just eight starts, his strikeout rates are alarmingly low. His fastball velocity is down 0.8 MPH on average, which might mean it’s down even more than that, as the point at which velocity is measured shifted closer to the release point. What has to be most concerning for Rangers fans is that his O-Swing%, Swing%, and SwStr% are all down significantly. His .223 BABIP looks to be masking big time struggles getting swings and misses, and it’s not like his mix of pitches has changed considerably to where such a low BABIP might be sustainable. Martin Perez has suffered the opposite fate of Hamels so far. His BABIP is crazy high—only Kevin Gausman has suffered worse batted-ball luck than Perez’s .357 mark—but he’s also yielding a lot of line-drives (27.2% compared to a 21.4% career average) and hard contact (34.9% compared to 29.2% on his career). Both should probably expect to see their numbers regress to the mean from their respective high and low points.
Texas Rangers position players
|Joey Gallo (L)||3B/LF||291||21||47||41||5||.194||.313||.508||.345||111||1.7||1.8|
|Shin-Soo Choo (L)||DH/RF||345||12||49||42||7||.250||.363||.410||.339||107||1.1||0.7|
|Nomar Mazara (L)||RF||334||12||37||56||2||.258||.332||.450||.330||101||1.0||0.7|
|Rougned Odor (L)||2B||366||17||47||40||9||.220||.260||.413||.284||69||0.2||0.3|
|Drew Robinson (L)||SS/CF||14||2||2||3||0||.273||.429||.909||.519||229||0.2||0.1|
As a unit, the Rangers’ position players cumulative fWAR of 10.3 ranks them 16th in baseball. Thanks in large part to their collective baserunning—they are second in BaseRuns to the Diamondbacks—the Rangers offense is the 11th-most valuable in baseball in spite of its 93 wRC+ (20th) and .319 wOBA (17th). Their defense is ranked 21st per the fWAR defensive component, but they’re 12th in UZR and 6th in DRS, suggesting that they might be better defensively fWAR is giving them credit for, especially when taking into consideration the full-time presence of Adrian Beltre in their current lineup, who missed the first two months of the season.
How will the Royals fare against the Rangers?
This poll is closed
Royals take two of three
Rangers take two of three
All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Sunday, July 9.
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