C.J. Wilson Helps Rangers Finish Sweep Against Royals

C.J. Wilson takes the mound on Easter Sunday as the Rangers look to sweep the Royals.

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Rangers Hang On For 8-7 Win Over Royals

C.J. Wilson struck out ten in seven innings, as the Rangers completed a weekend sweep of the Royals with an 8-7 win on Sunday. Wilson, now 3-0 on the season, allowed early solo home runs by Mike Aviles and Jeff Francoeur that were offset by solo shots from Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre.

Texas broke the game open in the fifth by batting around and plating six. Andres Blanco of all people led that inning off with another solo shot, and the Rangers used four walks, a single by Michael Young, and a bases clearing double by David Murphy to add five more.

Wilson allowed two more runs in the seventh and left with an 8-4 lead. Brett Tomko pitched the eighth and retired the Royals in order, and he struck out the first two batters in the ninth. But a single and a double preceded Mike Aviles’ second homer of the day, as he wrapped one around the pole in left and narrowed the score to an uncomfortable 8-7.

Ron Washington called on Arthur Rhodes to turn Melky Cabrera around to his weaker right side, and Rhodes did the job by inducing a grounder to Blanco. It was Rhodes’ first save since 2008 and just the 33rd of his career. The Rangers have now played two of a minimum of 13 games without closer Neftali Feliz and have seen their 40+ lefties handle the job.

The series sweep is the third of the season for Texas and their fourth series win. They swept the Red Sox and Mariners to start the season and took two of three in Baltimore, before taking the first and losing the last two in series at Detroit and New York and at home against the Angels.

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Rangers Vs. Royals: C.J. Wilson Takes The Mound As Rangers Look For Sweep

Kansas City Royals (12-9) at Texas Rangers (13-7)
Starting Pitchers: Bruce Chen (3-0, 2.42 ERA), C.J. Wilson (2-0, 3.08 ERA)

The Texas Rangers ensured last night a series victory against the Kansas City Royals. Now today, on Easter Sunday, the Rangers look to complete their first series sweep since sweeping the Mariners on April 6.

Texas won on Saturday night behind Alexi Ogando's strong start - and they'll look for C.J. Wilson to follow suit. Wilson, like Ogando yesterday, is looking for his third win of the season. Wilson is coming off his strongest start of the year, which came on Monday in Los Angeles, when he pitched seven innings, giving up one run on nine hits while striking out nine batters en route to a Rangers victory. 

Wilson will be opposed by Bruce Chen, who has been surprisingly good for Kansas City this year. Chen is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He's struck out 16 in 26 innings of work. Chen was also successful for Kansas City in 2010, when he went 7-1 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. EST, 2:05 p.m. CST.

Happy Easter, everybody.

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Ogando Wins Third, Bullpen Holds Up For Rangers

It was exactly the kind of game in which Ron Washington would want to use Neftali Feliz. For one night at least, the Rangers survived without their closer.

Alexi Ogando rebounded from his three-home run, five run performance in Yankee Stadium Sunday to return to the dominant form that saw him start the season with two starts that totaled 13 innings, no runs and just seven base runners with six more strong innings against a hot Royals lineup. He allowed a home run to Kila Ka’aihue to lead off the seventh, but prior to that he’d allowed four hits, one walk and no runs while striking out five. He threw 114 pitches, by far the most of his career (his previous high was 92).

Meanwhile, Mitch Moreland doubled in David Murphy in the second to get the Rangers on the board, and they added two more with a rally in the third. Elvis Andrus got things started with a walk, and Michael Young singled him to third. Adrian Beltre scored Andrus with a sacrifice fly, and Young stole second to set up an RBI single by Nelson Cruz.

Ogando’s exit after one batter in the seventh meant that the beleaguered Texas bullpen needed nine outs with just a two-run cushion. Enter promotee Cody Eppley, a side-winding righty called to the majors to replace Feliz on the roster. His major league debut was a raging success, as the rookie completed two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and getting out of two jams with runners in scoring position.

Eppley gave way to Darren Oliver for the ninth with Texas still clinging to their 3-1 lead. As he usually does, Oliver quietly retired the Royals in order for his first save of the season and just the fourth of his 18-year career.

The victory gave the Rangers their first series win in four and set up C.J. Wilson for a shot at the sweep Sunday as the staff ace will take on former Ranger Bruce Chen.

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Rangers Vs. Royals: Alexi Ogando Looks To Improve To 3-0

Kansas City Royals (12-8) at Texas Rangers (12-7)
Starting Pitchers: Kyle Davies (1-1, 7.20 ERA), Alexi Ogando (2-0, 2.33 ERA)

Last night, the Texas Rangers' offense broke out against Jeff Francis and the Kansas City bullpen, scoring 11 runs on 15 hits while belting five homers en route to an 11-6 win. Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland all homered for Texas.

Tonight, Alexi Ogando takes the mound in hopes of improving to 3-0 on the season and improving the Rangers' record to 13-7. Ogando is coming off his worst start of his brief career, as he allowed five runs in 6.1 innings against the Yankees last Sunday, striking out just one batter while walking one. Still, Ogando's numbers are excellent for the 2011 season, as he's 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. He's walked only four batters in 19.1 innings, but has only struck out nine as well. 

First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST, 7:05 p.m CST.

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4/22 Rangers vs. Royals Lineups

Per Jeff Wilson:

Rangers

  1. 2B Ian Kinsler
  2. SS Elvis Andrus
  3. 1B Michael Young
  4. 3B Adrian Beltre
  5. LF Nelson Cruz
  6. DH Mike Napoli
  7. CF David Murphy
  8. C Yorvit Torrealba
  9. RF Mitch Moreland

Royals

  1. 2B Chris Getz
  2. CF Melky Cabrera
  3. LF Alex Goordon
  4. DH Billy Butler
  5. RF Jeff Francoeur
  6. 3B Wilson Betemit
  7. 1B Kil Ka'aihue
  8. C Brayan Pena
  9. SS Alcides Escobar

I'm not sure about Mitch Moreland batting ninth. Not that it makes a big difference (it might even be a plus), it just seems weird and surprising.

Once again, another really bad defensive outfield. For a flyball pitcher in Derek Holland. Just close your eyes with the Royals swing.

Jeff Francoeur faces Texas for the first time since being a part of their World Series run, Matt Treanor has to wait until tomorrow.

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Series Preview: Rangers Look To Use Royals To Stop Skid

The Rangers host a team with a better record for the first time in 2011, without their reigning MVP, and without a centerfielder the manager can trust. They should probably be expected to win, anyway.

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Texas Rangers Vs. Kansas City Royals: Rangers Look To Snap Skid

Kansas City Royals (12-7) at Texas Rangers (11-7)
Probable Starting Pitchers: Jeff Francis (0-1, 3.00 ERA), Derek Holland (2-1, 3.66 ERA)

The Texas Rangers are in a bit of a funk for the first time in 2011. The Rangers find themselves in second place headed into play this weekend after dropping two of three to the now division leading Los Angeles Angels. Texas has dropped their last three series dating back to last week, when the Detroit Tigers took two of three from them before the Yankees took two of three.

The Rangers turn to Derek Holland to try to prevent a three game losing streak tonight. Holland has pitched well this year, posting a 2-1 record to go along with a 3.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Holland received a loss in his last start, giving up five runs in seven and two thirds innings to the Yankees when Ron Washington stuck with Holland too long in the eighth inning as he surrendered a home run to Robinson Cano

The upstart Royals will send Jeff Francis to the mound tonight. Francis has started four games for Kansas City but has received only one decision, a loss in his last outing to the Mariners. Francis has posted an even 3.00 ERA in 27 innings while striking out 14 and walking just three. 

First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST, 7:05 p.m. CST. 

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