Series Preview: Royals/Rangers

After sweeping the opposition out of Kansas City last month, the Rangers have a little revenge on their minds as the Royals begin a three game series in Arlington on Tuesday night. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at this week's matchup.

Royals (51-65) at Rangers (51-66)

Tuesday, 7:35 PM: Kyle Davies (5-8, 5.64) vs. Kevin Millwood (7-9, 5.90)

Kevin Millwood has a new angle on life, so to speak. In his last start, the righty shifted over on the mound and delivered his pitches from the first-base side of the rubber. The move frees his arm up so it wouldn't come across his body as much, and the new angle on the hill will hopefully give him a better approach against right-handed hitters who are pounding him for a .315 average this season. Millwood went the minimum to earn a quality start last time out against Oakland, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings of work. The last time he faced the Royals, however, was a horse of a different color. In that ugly 10-0 loss on July 28th, the vet gave up six runs on nine hits was unable to make it through the third inning.

Kyle Davies's second start as a Kansas City Royal went completely different than his first. He looked just about untouchable in a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins last week, hurling 6 2/3 of scoreless baseball and allowing just one extra-base hit. He also walked just two batters – the first and last one he faced on the afternoon. To top it all off, at one point the 23-year old sat down 14 Minnesota batters in a row. Tuesday will make his first time to face the Rangers as a member of an American League team, but he has pitched at Rangers Ballpark before. Back on June 15th of 2005, Davies got the start as the Atlanta Braves made their first regular season visit to Arlington, and allowed five first inning runs and was knocked around for eight hits before exiting after just 2 1/3 innings of work.

Wednesday, 7:35 PM: Gil Meche (7-10, 3.95) vs. Vicente Padilla (3-8, 6.69)
Last Friday night, Vicente Padilla wrapped up a long rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco and will be activated in time for Wednesday night's game in Arlington. In six rehab starts with the Roughriders, Padilla is 0-1 with an 8.25 ERA, and given up 11 runs (all earned) on 14 hits over 12 innings. With the weather as hot as it is, the Rangers are likely to keep him on a pitch count of about 80-85 pitches. Padilla has one career start against the Royals: An 11-3 manhandling in July 2006 that saw the righty give up seven runs and fail to make it out of the third.

Gil Meche, the lone All-Star representative from Kansas City, finds himself mired in a four game losing streak. Facing the Blue Jays in his last appearance, Meche held the opposition scoreless until coughing up two runs in the Toronto half of the sixth. However, by that point in the game the right-hander was approaching 100 pitches thrown and left before he was able to record an out in the inning. Meche has fared slightly better in road games this season then he has at his home ballpark of Kaufman Stadium, where the seven year veteran has allowed half a dozen more homeruns. Lifetime against the Rangers, Meche has been hammered to the tune of a 4-7 record and 7.09 ERA in 13 appearances.

Thursday, 7:35 PM: Leo Nunez (2-0, 1.80) vs. Brandon McCarthy (5-8, 4.79)
Brandon McCarthy didn't pitch well in his last outing, lasting only 4 2/3 against the Devil Rays while allowing three runs on six hits. On a hot Texas evening, his night began with a 28-pitch first inning and by the time the fifth inning rolled around, McCarthy looked to be completely out of gas. It also marked the seventh time in 19 starts this season that the 24-year old has failed to make it through five innings. He's made nine appearances (one start) against the Royals in his career and owns a 1-0 record and a 6.23 ERA against them.

Originally expected to be a stopgap until other starters get healthy, Leo Nunez threw six innings of one-run ball to pick up his second stellar victory of the year. With this latest round of success, Nunez has the Royals rethinking what their plan may be for the 24-year old in the remainder of this season. In four games against the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, the young righty has amassed a 1.80 ERA

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