ROYALS (19-39) AT RANGERS (29-27)
3:05 p.m. ET; FSSW, FSKC, MLB.TV
The Texas Rangers likely will be without slugger Joey Gallo as they finish a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
Gallo left Saturday’s game in the middle of a plate appearance with a strained oblique. The team will wait for the results of an MRI exam performed after the game to determine what to do next, but Texas manager Chris Woodward says the team won’t push it.
“He creates so much torque in that body, even if it’s a small oblique issue, I don’t want that to turn into a major one,” Woodward said. “He passed a lot of the strength tests, but if there is something in there, we’ll find out and plan accordingly after that.”
Gallo, who hit a two-run home run as part of a four-run fourth in Saturday’s 6-2 win, first felt a problem with the muscle in the top of the fifth inning when he tried to make a throw from the outfield. Gallo mentioned the injury when he returned to the dugout for the bottom of the fifth.
“After that first swing, we went out and talked to him,” Woodward said, “He said, ‘No, no, I’m fine. I didn’t feel anything.’ Then, next pitch, he felt something, and I said, ‘You’re out.'”
The Rangers are tied for the second-highest scoring team in the majors, so Gallo is not the only source of offense, but he will be missed. He is hitting .276 with 17 home runs, 41 RBIs and a .653 slugging percentage.
Texas is looking to take three games in this series and has already won the season series for the fifth straight year, leading four games to two with one remaining.
Brad Keller (3-6, 4.56 ERA) gets the nod for the Royals against Adrian Sampson (3-3, 4.53).
The Royals have lost 21 of their last 26 games to the Rangers, dating to July 2016.
This season, more teams than the Rangers have given the Royals trouble. The Royals have not won a series since a three-game sweep of Cleveland on April 12-14. While Kansas City can’t win this series, they do have a chance to split their third series of the year.
The Rangers won their second straight 6-2 decision against the Royals on Saturday, again using a big inning to do so. After scoring six runs in the sixth on Friday, the Rangers scored four runs in the fourth off Homer Bailey.
“He was rolling right along,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said of Bailey.
“He led off (giving up) a single and then a two-run homer (to Gallo). I was kind of, ‘Alright, just settle in.’ But it kept avalanching on him from that point.”
Keller has pitched at least five innings in all 12 starts, and he is averaging just under six innings per start. Yost is confident his bullpen will be ready for Sunday’s finale, followed by an off day.
“With Keller going tomorrow, that gets us right back on track,” he said. “We’re locked and loaded.”
Keller has made one appearance against the Rangers, pitching allowing one run in two innings in relief in May 2018.
Sampson has followed an opener in each of his last three outings, and he has picked up the win in all three games. He posted a 2.87 ERA, spanning 15 2/3 innings, in those games.
Sampson has never faced the Royals.
–Field Level Media