Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers (11-7) Preview Game 1

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After the Los Angeles Angels ending their winning streak at home as well as taking over sole possession of the number one spot in the American League West with one win, the Rangers will look to bounce back after two consecutive losses and not make it three straight when they meet up with Kansas City in Arlington tonight for the first game of three.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are coming off a victory and will look to get two consecutive wins. The two teams are both second in their division and the Royals are just trailing one win of the Rangers.

Against the Royals last year, Texas went 7-2 including a sweep of a four-game series in May. At home against Kansas City, the Rangers have triumphed in nine of the 12.

Let’s take a look at the matchups…

Pitching Matchups

LHP Derek Holland gets back on the mound Friday night for the Texas Rangers for the first game of three against the Kansas City Royals. Holland is 2-1 for the 2011 MLB season with an earned run average of 3.66. Over 19.2 innings, he has struck out 16 batters and allowed eight runs, all of which were earned, on 20 hits. His last time out he got the loss against the New York Yankees allowing five runs, all earned, on eight hits over 7.2 innings while also striking out five hitters and walking two. On Holland’s defense, Yankee Stadium isn’t a good ballpark for pitchers and he’ll likely have a better night this evening in Arlington.

The Royals will counter with LHP Jeff Francis. This is Francis’ fifth start for the season – the team has only won one of the four he pitched but he only got the decision in one of the four games causing him to be 0-1 for the season and has a 3.00 ERA. He has struck out 14 batters while walking three and has allowed nine runs, all earned, on 27 hits over 27 innings pitched. His last time out was against Seattle where he allowed three earned runs on six hits and only struck out one batter over 6.1 innings. This is the game he earned his first decision – a loss.

Pitchers vs. Hitters

LHP Derek Holland: The Royals don’t have much experience against Holland. Only four batters have faced him with only two getting a hit off him. Melky Cabrera is 0-for-3 and Mitch Maier is 0-for-1 while Billy Butler is 1-for-2 with one home run and two RBIs and Chris Getz is 1-for-2 with one RBI.

LHP Jeff Francis: Only give Rangers have been at the plate against Francis but all of them have hit off him – and decently. Adrian Beltre is 1-for-2 as is Ian Kinsler. Michael Young is 1-for-3, Mike Napoli is 2-for-5 and Yorvit Torrealba 2-for-6 with one homer and one RBI.

Who’s Hot

Rangers: Michael Young, despite the team’s struggles, has been hitting well. He has seven Runs batted in with his .409 average and is on an 11-game hitting streak. It was Young who got the single run in Wednesday’s loss to the Angels. Mitch Moreland has hit in 11 of the last 13 games and has a .313 batting average.

Royals: Alex Gordon is on a 15-game hitting streak with a .394 batting average in those 15 games but has never faced Holland. Wilson Betemit is on a 12-game hitting streak and Jeff Francoeur has hit in his past 11 games.

Prediction

I think the Rangers have this one. The Angels were a tough team and we all knew that heading into the series. The Royals may be hot right now but as long as Holland has his command in check and good velocity then the Rangers should get the win with no problem.

Chime in below with your own predictions!

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Tags: Adrian Beltre Derek Holland Ian Kinsler Michael Young Mike Napoli Rangers Rangers Vs Royals Royals At Rangers Texas Rangers Yorvit Torrealba

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