MLB Picks and Parlays: Texas and Kansas City Meet Up Saturday Night
An intriguing pitching battle awaits as the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals get set to face off Saturday night. These are two teams that figure to be battling each other and about six others for the two wild card spots. As such it’s a perfect example of mid-July games counting for more than one might think by season’s end.
The Rangers came into the All-Star break at 43-45 which puts them three games back of that second wild-card spot. They had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 3-0 loss in their final game before the break. All in all this is a team whose season charts like a roller coaster. They started slowly, before a strong push in May brought them three games above .500. But they were back down to five games below .500 one week into June after a prolonged slump. They ramped back up above .500 with an 11-5 run, but after hitting that peak, they went 5-8 entering the break.
With all the veteran talent and front-line pitching, this is a team that expects to be in the mix until the end and are looking for a second half spark.
Kansas City had an even worse start to their season, falling ten games below .500 by early May and the whispers of breaking up the remaining World Series core started to grow louder. Since then they’ve been one of the better teams in baseball climbing all the way up to four games above .500 by July 5th. That includes winning six of seven.
A sweep at the hands of the Dodgers on the final weekend before the break dampened their momentum somewhat. They entered the break at 44-43, two games out of a wild card spot and three back of first in the AL Central.
Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.51 ERA) missed two months and was knocked around pretty convincingly in his first start back. He allowed seven runs in 4.1 innings of a 15-9 loss to the Indians. But he looked sharped in his last two starts before the break, allowing two runs in 14.1 innings. The Rangers won both those games with the offense scoring ten runs in each win.
Jason Vargas (12-3, 2.62 ERA) has been flying under the radar most of the season, but he’s had an incredible bounce back year after sitting out large chunks of 2016 with Tommy John surgery. He was roughed up in his last start allowing six runs in five innings of a 9-6 win over the Mariners. Prior to that he’d allowed 14 runs in 52.2 innings over eight starts (2.41 ERA). The Royals have won his last eight starts.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Texas’s last 5 games
Texas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 13 of Texas’s last 19 games on the road
- Kansas City is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kansas City’s last 6 games at home
Kansas City is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games at home