Series Preview: Rangers/Royals

Fresh off this week's devastating sweep of a hopeful Seattle ballclub, the Rangers head north to take on another group of young upstarts in the Kansas City Royals. Lone Star Dugout has your look at this weekend's series with the Royals.

Rangers (46-56) at Royals (43-56)

Friday, 7:10 PM: Jamey Wright (3-2, 4.15) vs. Brian Bannister (6-6, 3.68)

In his last start, Jamey Wright needed all the help he could get to bail him out of a persistent amount of trouble. His six walks against the Indians last Saturday had him facing certain peril almost all night long. The worst of it occurred during a three walk fourth inning where Wright admitted he simply could not find the center of the plate. But thanks to a five-RBI performance by Marlon Byrd, and an excellent 4 2/3 of relief work from Ron Mahay and Joaquin Benoit, the Rangers were victorious and Wright escaped with a no-decision. The righty's put up some good numbers in three lifetime starts against the Royals, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts.

Brian Bannister is coming off an excellent showing against an always dangerous Detroit Tigers team. In it, he was able to end a brief losing streak by holding the opposition to one run in seven innings of work for his sixth win of the season. The 26-year old Bannister has proved to be a valuable commodity for the Royals this season, and has gone at least six innings in nine of his past 10 starts. His splits look very similar: 3-3, 3.83 at home, and 3-3, 3.55 on the road.

Saturday, 6:10 PM: Kevin Millwood (7-8, 5.56) vs. Odalis Perez (5-9, 5.80)
Monday's start against the Mariners had all the makings of a complete disaster for Kevin Millwood. Thanks to three hits and two walks, the first five Seattle batters reached base safely and two scored. But Millwood was miraculously able to limit the damage to just that. He certainly wasn't sharp, allowing four runs on eight hits and an extremely high pitch count through 5 1/3 innings, but he manged to become the first Rangers starter to record a victory since Jamey Wright picked up the W against the Oakland A's back on July 16th.

Odalis Perez tied his season-high of seven innings pitched in a commendable appearance Monday night against the Yankees. He got off to a shaky start, allowing four runs through the first two innings against a team that was coming off scoring 45 runs their two previous games, but you have to give the 30-year old credit for working his way out of quite a few jams. However, the loss dropped him to just 1-6 in 10 starts at the Royals' home ballpark of Kauffman Stadium. Interestingly enough, Perez, a nine-year veteran of the major leagues, has never faced every team in baseball but the Rangers – he'll be making his first career start against them.

Sunday, 1:10 PM: Kameron Loe (5-8, 5.59) vs. Leo Nunez (0-0, 2.25)
Kameron Loe left Wednesday's double-header against the Mariners without a victory. But something he did manage to exit the game in possession of was a standing ovation from the crowd. Of the three runs he allowed in 6 2/3 innings, two of them were of the questionable variety thanks to a blown call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds. With seven hits and two walks also allowed by Loe, his line may not look all that worthy of a round of applause, but the righthander was able to make big pitches when needed and allowed the Rangers to hang around long enough to finally take the lead late in the game. Historically, Loe has been roughed up by the Royals in his career and has a 15.43 ERA in three games against them.

With the recent release of seasoned veteran Scott Elarton, Kansas City righty Leo Nunez is set to make his second Major League start on Sunday afternoon. The 23-year old native of Jamao Norte in the Dominican Republic, was recently called up by the Royals and threw a commendable four innings of one run ball against the Red Sox in his most recent start. Although he was held to a pitch count in the 70's during that start, you can expect him to go much further this time around for Kansas City. Against the Rangers in his career, Nunez is 2-1 and owns a 4.62 ERA in seven games.

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