|5:15 PM PT6:15 PM MT7:15 PM CT8:15 PM ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 PM MST7:15 PM EST7:45 PM VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 PM CT, May 14, 2019
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri Attendance: 19,410
Rangers hope upward climb begins vs. Royals
Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals
- Kansas City has lost its home series with Texas in each season dating back to 2015 -- this four-series losing streak is the Royals' longest active home-series losing streak against any opponent. Kansas City has averaged 2.25 runs at home against Texas over this span.
- Texas was swept in a four-game set with Houston and was outscored 33-11 in the series. The Rangers have allowed 26 runs over their last two games -- only once has a team allowed more over a two-game span this season (Mariners, 29).
- Kansas City scored five runs in its win over Philadelphia and then scored one total run in its two losses in the series. The Royals are scoring 7.50 runs per game in wins this season and 3.00 in losses, the fourth-largest difference in MLB (+4.50) -- the Rangers (+5.93) have the largest such split in MLB.
- Elvis Andrus hit his sixth home run of the season last time out, matching his total from last season. It was his 16th multi-hit game of the season, tying him with Rafael Devers for second most in the AL (Michael Brantley, 20). His .327 batting average ranks fourth among AL qualifiers in 2019.
- Alex Gordon went 5-for-12 in the series against Philadelphia, and he drove in four of the Royals' six runs scored in the series. Gordon is averaging an RBI per 4.58 at-bats this season, sixth among qualifying American League hitters.
- Hunter Pence has 12 RBI this month, tied for sixth in MLB, and his 1.464 OPS in May leads MLB (minimum 25 PA). Of his eight hits in the month, three are doubles and four are home runs. He has scored 19 runs in 26 games this season, the same number he scored in 97 games with the Giants last season.
- Roof of new Rangers park catches fire
- Céspedes agrees to pay cut in settlement
- Rays nearing 2-yr. deal with OF Tsutsugo
- Brewers sign P Anderson for 1 year, $5M
- Red Sox sign LHP Perez, SS Peraza
The optimist will look at the Texas Rangers as a game out of second place in the American League West. The pessimist will look at the Rangers as being tied for last place in the American League West. They'd both be right.
The Rangers come into a three-game series beginning Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals with a 17-21 record, tied with the Oakland Athletics for last place, but just a game behind the second-place Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers are 7 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros, the only club in the division with a record above .500.
The Rangers just got swept in a four-game series by the Astros at Houston, which outscored Texas 33-11. The final two games were 11-4 and 15-5 losses. That ran the Rangers' road record to 5-14 this season.
"I pulled the team aside and said I was proud of their effort," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said following Sunday's loss. "They fought to the end. Obviously, we didn't execute some pitches today and they hit the ball hard. That's something we have to learn from. We have to figure out how to minimize our mistakes."
The Royals don't share last place with anyone in the AL Central. At 14-27, they have the worst record in the American League. But things don't look as bleak as that. Since a 10-game losing streak in early April, the Royals are just five games below .500 (12-17).
The offense is humming, at least the first four in the batting order. Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Alex Gordon and Hunter Dozier are hitting a combined .291. Dozier is eighth in the AL in batting (.318). Mondesi (33) is fourth and Gordon (31) is sixth in RBIs. Merrifield and Mondesi are tied for the league lead with six triples. The Royals lead the majors with 21 triples and 40 stolen bases.
They're also very good on defense, especially Mondesi, an infielder. The Royals' .991 fielding percentage is the best in baseball.
"Unbelievably good," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Mondesi, who had a rare but costly error in Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Phillies. "Lights out. Pop-your-eyes-out good. Makes plays like the other night when he's almost to third base and then throws back and gets a guy out. He's been really good."
The Royals will send Danny Duffy to the mound for the series opener. Duffy is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three starts after starting the season on the injured list. He earned his first victory since last August against the Astros in his last start. He gave up two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The offense backed him with 12 runs after scoring two runs combined in his first two starts.
Duffy is 2-2 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against Texas, including a 1-1 mark with a 1.89 ERA at home.
The Rangers will counter with Shelby Miller (1-2, 7.89 ERA) against the Royals. He allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts in four innings in his last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates (a no-decision). If he can continue that type of effort, second place isn't too far away. At least Woodward believes so.
"If I felt there was a lack of effort, maybe I would 1/8be upset 3/8," he said. "Our guys are fighting, they are trying, they're grinding. Obviously, our pitchers got hit pretty hard (Sunday) but it wasn't a lack of effort. There is nothing I should be upset about. Execution is one thing, but I'm not upset at our effort."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 13, 2019