Starters right at home as Rangers host Royals (Apr 21, 2017)
ARLINGTON, Texas — Globe Life Park is a special place for Friday’s starters in the matchup between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.
For Texas left-hander Cole Hamels (0-0, 3.50 ERA), the park has been a place where he has had almost nothing but success, going 10-2 in 24 starts. Texas is 19-5 in those games.
For Kansas City righty Nate Karns (0-0, 4.38 ERA), the park means a lot because it’s also his home park. Karns played high school baseball at Arlington Martin, which is less than 10 miles from Globe Life Park, and he lives in Dallas in the offseason.
So both starters wouldn’t mind a little home cooking as they look for their first wins of the season as the teams play the second contest of a four-game set following Texas’ 1-0 win in 13 innings Thursday.
Hamels would like to help the Rangers get going after a tough start to the season.
“There’s always going to be great expectations and you want to live up to them, but the understanding of knowing seasons are long, you can go on a cold streak here and there and go on hot streaks,” Hamels said. “Everybody goes through it during a part of the season. Unfortunately, we’re doing it right now. We all have our confidence. We know what we’re capable of doing.”
Hamels hasn’t pitched as well as he would like this year, but he has had success in limited action against the Royals — 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA in three starts.
He didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, allowing three runs in five innings during an 8-7 loss to Seattle.
He’d like to find his groove Friday.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Hamels said. “I just have to keep building on what I know I’m capable of doing, which is to go deeper in ballgames. Probably establish the strike zone a little more. From there, when you’re able to do that, the game plays more into my hand. There’s not as many stressful innings. There’s not as many guys on base. You want to throw perfect innings every time, but it’s not the case when you’re playing against guys that are just as good.”
Karns, who is 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA against Texas, has struggled with his command this year. In 12 1/3 innings, he has walked six batters. He knows he has to do better.
“If I can just challenge hitters, get early contact, that’s big,” Karns said. “In the past I maybe got caught up trying to put too many hitters away. I have a great defense and I’m just trying to use them as much as I can.”
He’s also trying to follow the lead for a rotation that has the best starting ERA in the majors. Manager Ned Yost has confidence Karns will get things together.
“I feel like our whole starting rotation’s off to a great start,” Yost said. “Walks aren’t an issue for us right now. His first start, he was a little out of sync the first two innings and then the third inning came out and was nails from that point on. His last start, I thought he was great from the first pitch on.”