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May 3, 2024 7:08 am

Royals ride strong pitching, defense into series with Rangers

brady singer

As Texas opens a weekend series against the Kansas City Royals, the visiting Rangers are both pleased and concerned with their pitching situation.

While solid pitching has lifted the Rangers to consecutive series wins — posting a 1.83 ERA while winning four out of six and lowering their opposition batting average to .208, the third-best mark in the majors — the club has growing injury concerns.

Left-hander Nathan Eovaldi left in the sixth inning of Texas’ 6-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday after feeling tightness in his right groin.

“I’ve had hip flexors and groin injuries before,” Eovaldi said. “Never really one that took me out of the game. It was just that one pitch I felt it. We’ll see how it feels (Friday). We’ll get it all checked out and play it safe.”

The Rangers also received some potentially unsettling news this news about right-hander Max Scherzer, who had surgery in December to repair a herniated disk.

Scherzer’s scheduled rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi was delayed due to soreness in his right thumb, but he is expected to make a second rehab start soon.

“You’re talking days, not weeks,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said, calling it a minor setback.

Scherzer threw 2 1/3 innings of three-run ball in a rehab outing for Triple-A Round Rock on April 24.

Texas’ Michael Lorenzen (2-1, 4.24 ERA) and Kansas City’s Brady Singer (2-1, 2.62) are scheduled to face off on Friday in a battle of right-handers.

In four career games (three starts) against the Royals, Lorenzen is 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA. Adam Frazier has only two hits in 21 at-bats against Lorenzen, who has served up homers to Vinnie Pasquantino and Salvador Perez.

Lorenzen will make his fourth start of the season after beginning the year on the injured list with a neck strain. In his latest outing, he surrendered five runs on six hits in six-plus innings during an 8-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Singer tossed five innings of one-run ball on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, snapping a four-game streak of allowing a home run.

Singer has lost all three of his career starts against Texas while posting an 8.10 ERA. Marcus Semien is 3-for-6 lifetime against Singer.

Like the Rangers, the Royals have also enjoyed solid pitching, boosting them to their best April in franchise history. Their 17 wins in the month are their most ever in April and marked their best month since they went 17-9 in June 2017.

Kansas City’s 3.14 team ERA ranks fifth in the majors while Royals starters’ 3.01 ERA ranks third. The club has won six of the past nine while allowing two runs or fewer in each victory.

Meanwhile, Kansas City fielders have made just 11 errors, tied for fourth fewest in baseball.

The combination of strong defense and reliable pitching places the Royals first in fewest runs allowed with 98 in 32 games, a major-league-best 3.1 per game.

“That’s a winning formula for any good team: pitching and defense,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “We feel good about our pitching. Our defense has played really well.”

–Field Level Media

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