After ending last night’s game with a position player on the mound, the Kansas City Royals will look to even the series tonight with the Texas Rangers. We’ll preview the game before going over my best play for the action.
Between Corey Seager’s first-inning home run and Andrew Heaney striking out nine straight Royals hitters, the Texas Rangers put on an impressive display last night in their 11-2 win. Heaney and the Rangers bullpen held the Royals to just four hits for the entire game while the Rangers lineup racked up 11 hits, with six being extra-base hits. The bad news for the Royals, who rank 30th in team batting average, is after last night, they now have to turn around and face Jacob deGrom.
The big offseason signing in deGrom was able to bounce back from his rough first start by going six innings and striking out 11 against the Orioles on the way to his first win of the season. deGrom looked for more comfortable in his second start and will now get the chance to throw what will already be his third game in his new home ballpark tonight.
What makes the Rangers a dangerous team is that if they give deGrom the same amount of run support they supplied last night, they will be a tough team to beat. Texas may rank 15th in team batting average, but they are 5th in the league in average runs per game early on this season. Over the past two games, the Rangers have scored a combined 19 runs and racked up eight doubles in that span.
The Rangers lineup will take on Jordan Lyles today, who will enter with an 0-2 record and a 4.91 ERA. The right-hander threw well in his first start allowing just one run in 5 ⅓ innings, but he did not receive any run support in the game. His second start was a different story, though, as he allowed five earned runs over 5 ⅔ innings, and despite striking out nine, he allowed eight hits and two homers.
For my play in this one, I’ll be targeting the Rangers run line of -1.5, which is priced at (-120). Five of the six games that Texas has won have come by two runs or more, and tonight they possess an excellent advantage in the starting pitcher department. The Royals have the third most strikeouts in the league so far this season, and now they will take on Jacob deGrom, who is already in the 95th percentile in whiff percentage and 98th percentile in strikeout percentage.
Offensively, the Rangers, who are swinging it really well at the moment, have an advantage today against Lyles. The right-hander is in the 17th percentile in barrel percentage and 44th percentile in hard hit percentage, so this Rangers lineup has a great chance to keep hitting the ball hard and racking up extra-base hits and runs.
The Royals have yet to lose a game by just one run, and with the rate they have been striking out, I don’t see them being able to give Lyles any run support today. Texas hitters that have faced Lyles have seen him well, especially Marcus Semiem, who is 8 for 16 in his career against him, so I think they can continue their impressive run-scoring pace.
Texas Rangers -1.5 (-120)