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Kansas City Royals (49-51) at Texas Rangers (58-44)
Thursday, July 28 - 8:05 PM EST
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Cole Hamels, who hasn't allowed an earned run in his last two starts, attempts to defeat Kansas City for the second time in six days when the
Texas Rangers host the struggling Royals on Thursday in the opener of a
four-game series. Hamels allowed an unearned run and five hits in 5 1/3
innings of the 7-4 triumph over Kansas City.
The Royals posted a 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday for only their second win in eight contests. Kansas City is just 7-15 this month behind a sluggish offense that is tied with Tampa Bay for last in the American League in runs scored (395). Texas' Prince Fielder is slated to undergo season-ending surgery on Friday to repair a herniated disk in his neck. Fielder batted just .212 with eight home runs this season and will be having neck surgery for the second time in 26 months.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Kansas City, FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Yordano Ventura (6-8, 4.99 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Cole Hamels (11-2, 2.87)
Ventura has been cleared to start despite suffering a rib contusion on Saturday, when he was struck by a ball hit by Texas' Adrian Beltre. He gave up three runs and three hits over five innings while losing and slipped to 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers. Ventura is 0-4 over his last five turns and already has served up 14 homers - matching his total of each of the last two seasons.
Hamels is 6-1 with a 2.19 ERA over his last eight starts despite two poor turns immediately prior to the All-Star break. He allowed 10 runs, 15 hits and nine walks in 8 1/3 innings during the stretch before giving up just nine hits in 13 1/3 frames in his last two outings. Hamels is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City.
1. Rangers CF Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to Oakland - his fifth blast in the last 10 games.
2. Kansas City LF Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 and scored twice on Wednesday to raise his average 10 points to .209.
3. Texas acquired RHP Lucas Harrell and LHP Dario Alvarez from Atlanta on Wednesday for INF Travis Demeritte.
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Royals 2