Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Kansas City Royals - One For The Road

Gorilla in the Mist - Ed Zurga

The Rangers make their final road stop of the regular season in Kansas City to put their horrid record against teams from the Central divisions up against the Wild Card hungry Royals

Series Schedule:

Friday, September 20 7:10: RHP Ervin Santana vs. LHP Martin Perez

Saturday, September 21 6:10: RHP Jeremy Guthrie vs. RHP Matt Garza

Sunday, September 22 1:10: RHP James Shields vs. RHP Alexi Ogando

The baseball season has ten games remaining, and, should the Royals perform well in this series against the Rangers, there is a marginally realistic possibility that they reach the postseason for the first time since 1985. So, basically, the Royals were last playing in October before most of you were alive. The last time the Royals were relevant to the postseason landscape, there was a Porky's movie in the theaters and Careless Whisper was the top song of the year.

What's interesting about this to me is that it seems so unlikely to folks that the Royals will make the playoffs that I've been hearing almost nothing about them having a -albeit admittedly slim - chance to do so. The Pittsburgh Pirates, on the other hand, have been season-long Cinderella darlings. Maybe the world can only take one of these stories at a time and the Pirates have seemed much more likely to actually make the postseason.

Where is the love for the underdog Royals? Have they just lost so much that they're unlikable? Is Dayton Moore considered to be such a bumbling executive that people secretly hope he doesn't stumble upon a Brian Sabean-esque run? Do you have to lose for another 75 years before you circle back around to lovable losers like the Cubs? Personally, I hope the Royals don't make the playoffs because that'll mean the Royals probably did some damage to the Rangers hopes, but I'm calling narrative hypocrites on the baseball writers out there.

As for this series, which will win out? The Rangers current MLB leading 44 wins on the road or the Rangers horrific 12-17 record against members of the AL Central? Here's a fact that is as interesting as it is disgusting: The Rangers, should they not win this series, will only have a winning record against the Tigers among teams from the Central.

I don't even know how this happened but it's shameful.

This is the final time in 2013 that the Texas Rangers will wear their road grays during the regular season. Should they win this series, they'll remain in the drivers seat for a Wild Card berth. However, should they lose, they might just put the Royals in position to steal one of the prizes in the October cakewalk...much to everyone's apparent chagrin.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the happy to be here Royals of Kansas City:

  • Martin Perez: 9-5, 5.76 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, .291 BABIP, 76.3% LOB, 4.26 FIP, 4.13 xFIP, 1.4 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 18.1 innings
  • Ervin Santana: 9-9, 7.06 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, .271 BABIP, 77.2% LOB, 3.91 FIP, 3.62 xFIP, 2.9 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 17.0 innings

Advantage: Ervin Santana being pretty good again this season, instead of being the worst starter in baseball like last season, over Martin Perez going for his tenth win this season even though he didn't join the rotation until about two weeks before the All-Star break.

  • Matt Garza: 9-6, 8.11 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, .287 BABIP, 72.7% LOB, 3.91 FIP, 3.69 xFIP, 1.9 WAR - Last three starts: 14 runs allowed in 15.1 innings
  • Jeremy Guthrie: 14-11, 4.80 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 78.0% LOB, 4.76 FIP, 4.50 xFIP, 1.1 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 20.0 innings

Advantage: I have to believe that Matt Garza is better than Jeremy Guthrie. If Jeremy Guthrie out-pitches Matt Garza, I demand at least Neil Ramirez and half of Justin Grimm back from the Cubs.

  • Alexi Ogando: 7-4, 6.21 K/9, 3.45 BB/9, .245 BABIP, 81.3% LOB, 4.45 FIP, 4.80 xFIP, 0.9 WAR - Last three appearances: 1 run allowed in 8.2 innings (Made first start since Aug 13 on Tuesday)
  • James Shields: 12-9, 7.75 K/9, 2.78 BB/9, .302 BABIP, 78.5% LOB, 3.52 FIP, 3.75 xFIP, 4.2 WAR - Last three starts: 13 runs allowed in 17.2 innings

Advantage: It's James Shields. They call him Big Game James but he really should just be nicknamed Beats The Rangers Easily James. Maybe that doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well. Let's just hope the Rangers will have won the first two games of the series by this point. Though, for what it's worth, Alexi Ogando looked pretty stellar his last time out against Tampa Bay. I like 95 mph starter stuff Alexi Ogando way more than 91 mph starter stuff Alexi Ogando.

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Kansas City Royals (80-72, 3rd Place in AL Central)

Rangers' Record vs. Kansas City: 2-1 (All at The Ballpark)

Kansas City's Recent Results: 2-1 home series win against the Cleveland Indians

Kansas City's 2013 Home Record: 42-36

Kauffman Stadium Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 89/93 - Runs: 105/103

SB Nation Royals Blog: Royals Review

Match-up: (as of 09/20) Rangers Royals Advantage
Batting (RAR) -20.5 (16th) -72.7 (25th) An offense potentially worse than that of the Rangers?
Base Running (RAR) -2.0 (16th) 18.4 (2nd) I don't even care that the Royals are really good; how 'bout those Rangers?!
Starters (RAR) 38.8 75.7 Welp
Bullpen (RAR) 60.5 (2nd) 67.9 (1st) Greg Holland has been bananas
Defense (UZR) 28.5 (6th) 72.2 (1st) What in the world?
Overall (UZR + RAR) 105.3 161.5

The Royals would be the best team in baseball if hitting weren't a thing

Questions to Answer:

  • What is your opinion on why these contending KC Royals aren't getting the Pittsburgh Pirate treatment from fans and media?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Adrian Beltre carries the Rangers the rest of the way.)
  • Over/Under: 3.5 runs allowed by Matt Garza in his start on Saturday evening?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Alexi Ogando on Sunday against James Shields, as he tries to build on his best start since early June?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers take this series from the Royals and head home for baseball's final week with the Wild Card lead?
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