The Texas Rangers hope to keep their offense rolling when they oppose the visiting Kansas City Royals in the second game of a three-game set Saturday afternoon.
After beating the Royals 9-4 on Friday night, the Rangers have scored at least five runs in four of their past five games.
Texas won three of those five contests, splitting four with the Oakland Athletics before taking the opener against Kansas City.
On Friday night, Texas scored four runs in the fourth inning and put up five in the sixth.
“We’ve been better, individually and collectively,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said when asked about his team’s offense. “We’ve been inching forward. There’s been a lot of progress.”
Texas right-hander Kyle Gibson (5-0, 2.17 ERA) is set to make his 15th start of the season.
Gibson comes into the game ranked third in the American League in ERA behind the Chicago White Sox pair of Carlos Rodon (2.06) and Lance Lynn (2.14).
Since opening the season by giving up five runs in just a third of an inning in Kansas City, Gibson has gone 5-0 with a 1.63 ERA in 82 2/3 innings.
Gibson got the win in the Rangers’ 8-3 victory against Oakland on Monday, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
Before Sean Murphy homered in the fifth, Gibson did not give up a hit through 4 1/3 innings.
The Rangers are 7-0 in home games that Gibson has started this season.
Gibson is 9-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 25 career games (23 starts) against the Royals, although his one and only start against Kansas City since joining the Rangers ended quickly.
On April 1, he made the shortest Opening Day start in franchise history and the shortest in baseball in 39 years.
“Not how you draw up your first Opening Day start with it being the first time you haven’t ever made it out of the first inning,” Gibson said afterward. “I just didn’t have command of anything. Obviously, that was pretty apparent.”
The Royals initially did not announce a starter for Saturday, with manager Mike Matheny saying he would decide based on how the opening game of the series went Friday night.
After the game, Matheny said righty Kyle Zimmer (3-0, 2.48 ERA) would come out of the bullpen and get the Saturday start.
In the Friday defeat, Kansas City’s Mike Minor was charged with nine runs, he did pitch five-plus inning. The Royals wound up using three relievers for a total of three scoreless innings.
“I thought we were watching our first complete game of the season the way he was rolling, making good pitches, and then a couple things happened fast,” Matheny said of Minor’s start.
Zimmer last pitched in the Royals’ Wednesday loss at Yankee Stadium, when he tossed a scoreless inning. He has thrown more than two innings in his 26 appearances only once this season, when he fired three frames in relief against the Rangers on April 4.
He faced Texas twice in the opening series, going 3 2/3 scoreless innings and giving up one hit and two walks with four strikeouts. Those are his only two career outings against the Rangers.
–Field Level Media