MLB on Sling TV: Astros at Rangers, and Tigers at Royals on FS1; Saturday’s Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks
(All times Eastern, starters subject to change)
Houston Astros (Keuchel 9-12, 4.55) vs. Texas Rangers (Holland 6-6, 4.68)
4pm ET on FS1
One would be hard pressed to look at Dallas Keuchel’s stats and think “reigning Cy Young Award winner,” but it’s true. A year after dominating the AL, leading the league in wins, shutouts, innings, ERA+, WHIP, and WAR, Keuchel is struggling. His strikeouts are down slightly, while his walk, hit and home run rates are all up. Last year Keuchel relied heavily on his two-seam fastball, with batters hitting just .221 against it, while his second-favorite pitch, his four-seamer, got tagged to the tune of .291. This year, the two-seamer is getting pounded – .315, and the four-seamer has been largely abandoned despite batters hitting .236 against it.
Derek Holland, proud owner of one of baseball’s more disgusting mustaches, has come a long way since making the second-worst start of 2016. On May 5, against the Blue Jays, Holland lasted just 2 ⅔ innings, giving up 11 runs on 11 hits and 3 walks, en route to a 12-2 loss. He had another rough outing after that, but since then, he’s gone 50 ⅔ innings over 9 starts with a 3.73 ERA.
The race in the AL West is all but over, as coming into this series, the Rangers, at 80-54, held an 8 ½ - game lead over the 71-62 Astros, but Houston still has a chance to fight their way into the Wild Card for the second year in a row, as they’re just a game behind the Orioles and Tigers in the fight for the second spot.
Detroit Tigers (Fulmer 10-5, 2.69) vs. Kansas City Royals (Ventura 9-9, 4.33)
7pm ET on FS1
Michael Fulmer’s Rookie of the Year campaign continues to move along nicely, as he leads AL rookie pitchers in WAR, wins, starts, and innings, and has as many WAR as the top 2 AL position player rookies. Will it be enough to take the Tigers to the postseason? Going into the weekend they’re 72-61, trailing the Indians by 4 ½ in the Central, but tied with Baltimore for the second Wild Card spot.
After a string of four strong starts in a row, Yordano Ventura got roughed up by the Red Sox Sunday, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 4 ⅓, though the bullpen stopped the bleeding and the bats came to life to give the Royals a 10-4 win. The Royals were tied for 1st in the AL Central as late as June 15, before going 8-11 and suddenly finding themselves 8 games out of 1st place, then a recent 9-game winning streak helped propel them to within 5 ½ games, before dropping two in a row to fall 7 ½ back, at 69-64.
Watch the Houston Astros vs. the Texas Rangers at 4pm, followed by the Detroit Tigers vs. the Kansas City Royals at 7pm Saturday on FS1 by subscribing to Sling Blue.
Here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land:
Houston Astros (Fister 12-9, 3.60) at Texas Rangers (Lewis 6-1, 3.21)
4:05pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest
St. Louis Cardinals (Garcia 10-10, 4.46) at Cincinnati Reds (Straily 10-7, 3.92)
4:10pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati & FOX Sports Midwest
Toronto Blue Jays (TBD) at Tampa Bay Rays (Snell 4-7, 3.56)
6:10pm ET on Fox Sports Sun
Atlanta Braves (Gant 1-3, 4.59) at Philadelphia Phillies (Velasquez 8-6, 4.21)
7:05pm ET on FOX Sports South
Milwaukee Brewers (Nelson 7-13, 4.45) at Pittsburgh Pirates (Nova 11-6, 4.41)
7:05pm ET on FOX Sports Wisconsin
New York Yankees (Sabathia 8-11, 4.31) at Baltimore Orioles (Gausman 6-10, 3.73)
7:05pm ET on YES
Chicago White Sox (Shields 5-16, 5.86) at Minnesota Twins (Santiago 10-8, 4.93)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports North
Miami Marlins (Fernandez 13-7, 2.79) at Cleveland Indians (Bauer 9-6, 3.73)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida & SportsTime Ohio
Arizona Diamondbacks (Shipley 2-3, 4.75) at Colorado Rockies (Chatwood 10-8, 3.75)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona
Los Angeles Angels (Skaggs 2-3, 4.75) at Seattle Mariners (Walker 4-9, 4.19)
9:10pm ET on FOX Sports West
San Diego Padres (Perdomo 7-7, 5.84) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Maeda 13-8, 3.38)
9:10pm ET on FOX Sports San Diego
Watch baseball on FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to Sling Blue.