ROYALS (19-37) AT RANGERS (27-27)
8:05 p.m. ET; FSSW, FSKC, MLB.TV
The Kansas City Royals routinely have found themselves under the thumb of the Texas Rangers since the start of the 2016 season.
After losing 19 of 24 such encounters prior to this series, the Royals will bid to win the first two contests of the four-game set on Friday when the clubs reconvene in Arlington, Texas.
Adalberto Mondesi homered to highlight his fifth three-hit performance of the season in Kansas City’s 4-2 win over Texas on Thursday. The 23-year-old has 20 hits, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last 15 games.
“Lately I’ve been swinging so hard, so right now, I’m just focused on putting the ball in play,” Mondesi said. “… I’ve been working on that every day.”
Jorge Soler homered for the second time in as many days and fourth in nine outings when he belted a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Soler’s homer extended his career-high total this season to 14.
Soler and Mondesi will look to continue their strong play at the plate versus Texas right-hander Ariel Jurado (1-2, 2.28 ERA), who acquitted himself well in his last outing. Jurado allowed two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels.
The 23-year-old Jurado struggled in his lone career encounter with Kansas City, permitting two runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of a no-decision on May 14.
Jurado will have two special people in the crowd as his parents are making their first trek from Panama to the United States.
“It’s a cool story,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “They’ve never been to the United States, get to see him pitch (on Friday).”
Joey Gallo’s two-out walk in the fourth inning allowed him to reach base in 31 of his last 37 games, but the 25-year-old isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“It’s still one-third of the season, still a lot left, but I feel like I’ve made a lot of adjustments to be a better overall hitter,” Gallo said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s definitely been an enjoyable season so far for me personally, so hopefully keep that going.”
Shin-Soo Choo belted his sixth homer in 13 games and the 199th of his career in the series opener heading into Friday’s tilt versus Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy (3-1, 3.12 ERA), against whom he is 4-for-13 in his career.
Duffy will attempt to rebound after seeing his three-start winning streak come to an end in his last outing. He yielded four runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings of a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Duffy improved to 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight career starts versus Texas on May 14 despite surrendering four runs on seven hits in five innings of an 11-5 win.
Duffy has struggled against Asdrubal Cabrera (5-for-15) and Gallo (3-for-9) in small sample sizes.
The availability of Kansas City’s Hunter Dozier for the rest of the series is in question after he exited the opener with right side thorax tightness.
“Dozier is going to need a day or maybe even two, and that might affect my plans with Nicky Lopez and Mondesi getting days off,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
–Field Level Media