Texas is 24-5 over Hamels’ last 29 regular season starts...
My free play is on the Tex Rangers at 7:15 ET.
No team has struggled more than the Giants since the All Star break but the Rangers come in a close second. The SF Giants owned MLB’s best record at the break (57-37) but have yet to win since play resumed, going 0-6. Meanwhile, the Rangers were 54-36 at the break (up 5 1/2 games in the AL West) and owned MLB’s best moneyline mark at plus-$2,422. However, Texas is 1-6 since the break, with its lead cut to 2 1/2 games over the Astros. Texas remains the moneyline leader (plus-$1,932 to Baltimore’s plus-$1,493) but Texas backers are down almost $500 in the team's seven games since play resumed after a four-day break.
As all know, the Royals have represented the AL in each of the last two World Series (beat the Mets last season, after losing a seven-game series to the Giants in 2014) but KC has been behind the eight-ball most of the 2016 season and enters this contest just 48-47, EIGHT games out of the AL Central lead, as well as FIVE games back of the second wild card spot with FOUR teams a between them and the Blue Jays (current No. 2 wild card club). Saturday’s pitching matchup features Cole Hamels (10-2, 3.00 ERA) and Yordano Ventura (6-7, 4.97 ERA).
Ventura hasn't won since blanking the Tigers over 6.1 innings of a 10-3 win back on June 17, going 0-3 over his four starts since that win (Royals are 0-4), with an ugly 6.55 ERA in those outings (it’s 8.40 in his three losses!). Ventura has made four career starts against Texas, going 2-2 with a 4.84 ERA but does have 22 strikeouts in 22.1 innings against the Rangers. Some good news is that while Ventura walked a major league-leading 33 in his first nine starts (6.10 per nine innings), he has allowed just EIGHT walks over his last nine outings (a span of in 52.2 innings), which is 1.37 per nine innings, a ratio ranks third-lowest in the AL during that span.
Texas counters with All Star Cole Hamels, who will be making his first-ever regular-season start at Kauffman Stadium (note: he pitched a perfect inning at the 2012 All-Star game in Kansas City while with the Phillies). The Rangers are 14-5 in Hamels' starts this season (plus-$855 moneyline mark ranks eight in 2016), including winning SEVEN of his last eight. Some may remember that the Rangers lost Hamels’ first two starts after being acquired from Philly last year but they then won his final 10 regular season starts. Doing the math, Texas is now 24-5 over Hamels’ last 29 regular season starts.
That’s good enough for me.