The Texas Rangers and their fans were worried about star slugger Josh Hamilton during a prolonged slump in June and July. With the calendar flipped to August, Hamilton appears to be slowly coming out of his hole. The All-Star has hit safely in three straight games while recording six RBIs after batting .176 with 11 RBIs in his previous 23 contests. The Rangers will aim for a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
The Royals have held the powerful Texas lineup to a total of nine runs in the first two games of the series but have been unable to get much going against the Rangers’ starting pitching. After getting pounded in four games against the Los Angeles Angels earlier in the week, Texas’ staff is beginning to return to form. Kansas City has slipped into last place and owns the worst record in the American League after dropping seven of their last 10. The Royals need a win Sunday to clinch a winning six-game homestand before hitting the road for seven against the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
Rangers Royals Betting
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, August 5, 2012
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Texas), FS Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Derek Holland (7-6, 4.96 ERA) vs. Royals RH Luke Hochevar (7-9, 5.22)
Holland has sandwiched a quality start around a pair of tough outings in his last three turns. The 25-year old left-hander is coming off a loss against the Angels in which he was reached for six runs on five hits – three home runs – in 6 2/3 innings. Holland has surrendered seven homers in the last three starts. He threw a scoreless inning against the Royals in his lone relief appearance of the season May 14 and is 1-1 with a 4.57 ERA in five career games – three starts – against them in his career.
Hochevar bounced back from a rough outing to earn a win over Cleveland on Monday, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings while striking out six. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has yielded three earned runs or less in seven of his last nine starts, cutting his ERA by move than a run in that span. Hochevar has never lost to the Rangers, going 2-0 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts. Hamilton and Ian Kinsler are a combined 1-for-19 against the right-hander.
1. Rangers closer Joe Nathan has been held out the last two days, with Alexi Ogando getting the save opportunities. Nathan could return Sunday.
2. Royals 1B Eric Hosmer is pulling out of his own slump, going 5-for-12 over the last three contests.
3. Texas rookie Mike Olt recorded his first two career RBIs on Saturday and is batting .400 (2-for-5) in his first two games.