The Texas Rangers begin a three-game set with the Royals tonight at Globe Life Park. It's a busy weekend with the Rangers honoring former team president Tom Schieffer on Saturday.
Here's a preview:
What's up with the Royals?: First place. Yes, the first-place Royals visit trying to improve upon their 4-2 mark so far on their nine-game road trip. DH Billy Butler, whose eight-game hit streak ended Wednesday, has seen his average climb to .280 and leads the team with 128 hits. Left fielder Alex Gordon is hitting .284 and has a team-leading .360 OBP. Royals starters are 22-6 since July 222, the best mark in the big leagues. Closer Greg Holland leads the majors with 39 saves. Friday starter Yordano is tied with AL rookies with nine victories.
What's up with the Rangers?: The Rangers are 11-20 in the second half of the season but have won two of their last three games. Leonys Martin, despite a .202 average vs. left-handed pitchers, is 8-for-17 over his last five games against southpaws. Adrian Beltre has five hits and four runs scored over the last five games and has a slash line of .322/.376/.500. Elvis Andrus is doing well against LHP with a slash line of .333/.397/.417. 1B/OF Mike Carp continues to struggle since the trade with Boston. He's hitting .184 this month with no extra base hits.
Big weekend honor: On Friday night, longtime team employee Joe Macko will receive a plaque in his honor for nearly 30 years of service. The Rangers will honor former team president Tom Schieffer and induct him as the 17th member of the Texas Rangers baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday night. The event takes place at 6:35 p.m. CST. First pitch for Saturday's game was moved to 7:25 p.m. Schieffer was influential in getting the new baseball stadium built in Arlington 20 years ago.
Pitching matchups: Friday -- RHP Colby Lewis vs. RHP Yordano Ventura (9-9, 3.48); Saturday -- RHP Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.15) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (9-10, 4.48), Sunday: TBA vs. LHP Jason Vargas (10-5, 3.17).