The Kansas City Royals are back to .500 after a 5-3 home stand that ended with yet another gem from pitcher Jason Vargas. The left-hander threw seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory, striking out nine and out-performing Madison Bumgarner. That performance pushes his current scoreless inning streak to 14 2/3. The boys in blue will now head to Arlington for a four-game set against the Texas Rangers.
Danny Duffy vs. Andrew Cashner
Lefty Danny Duffy will be making his fourth start of the season. In his last start against the Angels, Duffy threw seven innings of one-run baseball, striking out six batters. So far is 2017, he’s 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Andrew Cashner allowed four runs in five innings in his first appearance since coming off the DL on Saturday. In his career against the Royals, he is 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA. Cashner will be making his first career start at Globe Life Park on Thursday.
Nathan Karns vs. Cole Hamels
Karns will be making his third start of the season opposite Cole Hamels on Friday. The right-hander gave up four hits and only one run in his last start on Saturday against the Angels.
Hamels is still searching for his first victory in this young season. The left-hander has left every game with a lead, only to have it taken away. In three career starts against the Royals, Hamels is 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA.
Ian Kennedy vs. A.J. Griffin
Kennedy will have added confidence going into Saturday’s game after coming off one his best performances as a Royal. In a two-hit shutout over eight innings, Kennedy struck out ten batters.
Since joining the Rangers last year, in 11 starts, Griffin posted a 5-2 record with a 5.24 ERA. The right-hander has made four career starts against the Royals and is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA. In his last three starts, Griffin is 2-0 with a 4.11 ERA and sixteen strikeouts.
After his best start of the season so far against the Giants, Hammel will be pitching in the series finale opposite Yu Darvish. In his last outing, went six-plus innings and gave up six hits and one run while striking out three.
In a 4-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, Darvish allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings. Over three career starts against the Royals; the right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA.
Entering Wednesday’s game, the Royals were batting 13 for 87 with runners in scoring position, the worst in all of baseball. The Royals must break through and capitalize on more opportunities if they want to get over the .500 mark.
The Rangers batting lineup has been less than impressive through the first 15 games. Excluding Nomar Mazar and Elvis Andrus, the team line goes from .217/.290/.397 to .183/.270/.332.