Nicky Lopez provided Kansas City with a breath of fresh air in his major-league debut, and the Royals hope to continue their rebuilding process in positive fashion when they host the Texas Rangers on Wednesday for the second contest of their three-game series. The 24-year-old Lopez played second base in Tuesday's 11-5 victory and recorded a hit, and an RBI while scoring a run.
Whit Merrifield wasn't fazed by the arrival of Lopez, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored on Tuesday in what likely was the start of a permanent move to right field. Texas had dominated the Royals by winning the last four season series by a combined 21-7 before matching a season high with its fifth straight loss on Tuesday, getting outscored 44-16 during the slide. The Rangers could be without shortstop Elvis Andrus (team-high .325 batting average, six home runs, 26 RBIs), who left in the seventh inning on Tuesday after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring. Texas' Mike Minor takes the ball Wednesday as he tries to continue his strong season opposite Jorge Lopez, who has allowed at least four runs in each of his last five starts.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Texas), FS Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Mike Minor (3-3, 2.68 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jorge Lopez (0-4, 6.07)
Minor allowed three runs, seven hits (one home run) and three walks with five strikeouts in five innings of a 4-2 loss at Houston on Thursday. The 31-year-old Tennessean was a bit sharper in his previous two turns, striking out 22 batters - including a career-high 13 versus Seattle on April 27 - while yielding one run and 10 hits over 15 frames. Kansas City's Alex Gordon and Jorge Soler each have homered in a combined nine at-bats versus Minor, who is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts against the Royals.
Jorge Lopez permitted six runs, six hits (three homers) and three walks in 2 1/3 innings of a 9-0 loss at Houston on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Puerto Rican has struggled against left-handed batters - .319 average, six home runs in 72 at-bats - but fares better against righties (.245, four in 98). Jorge Lopez, who never has faced Texas, is winless since taking a perfect game into the ninth inning at Minnesota on Sept. 8.
1. Nicky Lopez, a fifth-round draft pick in 2016, hit .353 with three homers, 27 runs, 20 walks and nine stolen bases at Triple-A Omaha this season.
2. The Rangers are 5-15 on the road this season, with only Miami (4-14) owning fewer wins.
3. The Royals lead the majors in stolen bases with 41 - nine more than second-place Texas and the Chicago White Sox.
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Kansas City Royals
- ElbowEarly June | 10-day IL
Flynn is dealing with left elbow soreness and has been designated for the 10-day injured list. The club is aiming for him to return before the start of June.
- BackEarly June | 10-day IL
Duda was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a lumbar strain. He is likely to be out of commission until the early part of June.
- RestQues Wed | questionable
Gordon is not expected to suit up against the Astros on Wednesday due to a day of rest.
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- InfectionProb Tues | 10-day IL
Kelley has been placed on the 10-day injured list while recuperating from surgery to remove lumps from his vocal cords. He is expected to return to the bullpen for Tuesday's game versus the Mariners.
- ShoulderEarly June | 60-day IL
Heineman is on the 60-day injured list and is expected to be sidelined until at least the start of June while recovering from labrum surgery on his left shoulder.
- ElbowEarly June | 60-day IL
Volquez has been designated for the 60-day injured list due to a right elbow strain. He is expected to be held out of action until at least the start of June.
- ElbowEarly June | 10-day IL
Hearn is on the 10-day injured list with left elbow tightness and is likely out until at least the early part of June.
- JawEarly June | 60-day IL
Farrell is on the 60-day injured list as he is recovering from surgery to repair a non-displaced fracture in his jaw. He is expected to be shut down until at least the beginning of June.
- HamstringProb Sat | 10-day IL
Andrus sustained a right hamstring strain and has been placed on the 10-day injured list. He is projected to return to the lineup Saturday against the Angels.
- AnkleProb Mon | probable
Santana is expected to suit up against the Mariners on Monday despite a right ankle contusion.
- AnkleProb Sun | probable
Smyly is nursing an ankle sprain, but is expected to make his next scheduled start Sunday against the Cardinals.
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