Look who returns to Kauffman Stadium tonight, a healthy Eric Hosmer. Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Rangers (53-83) at Royals (74-61)

First the positives, it’s September 1 and the Kansas City Royals are in first place which is great. Now the negatives, they’ve now got Cleveland in addition to Detroit close on their trail. Texas comes to town while the Tribe host the Tigers which is both good and bad.

Here’s hoping the reinforcements called in can help finish the Hunt for Blue October for KC, now everyone buckle up for the Royalscoaster.

As this is the final series between the Royals and the Texas Rangers, we reached out Ben Dieter of Nolan Writin’ to ask a few questions about the Rangers.

Kings of Kauffman – Have injuries been the only reason for the issues this season?
No, but it has been the bulk of the problem. A healthy Prince Fielder would have made a huge difference as well as a healthy Derek Holland and a healthy Martin Perez. The Rangers are second to last in hime runs hit and have the lowest ERA in the American League, and you can’t say that is all due to injury. Fully healthy they are not the same team they were in 2010 and 2011.

KOK – Will Ron Washington be the manager next season?
Yes. I don’t think the Rangers will fire him when his team has broken the major league record for most players used in a season before September even arrives. I do believe that he will be on a short leash next season however. If fhis team starts slow, I could see him getting canned very quickly.

KOK – What do Rangers fans have to look forward to going forward?
Watching the young talent, the future of the franchise. Players like Miles Mikolas, Nick Martinez, Ryan Rua, Rogned Odor and Michael Choice just to name a few. Rangers fans get an upclose and personal look at the reason the Rangers have one of the top minor league systems in the majors. And we all know Joey Gallo will be here some time latenext season.

KOK – Which pitchers will Texas be throwing this week?
Colby Lewis will start tonight, and he is coming off of another complete game shutout. Ha had two in August, both in the past two weeks. He has been better on the road than he has been at home.

Tomorrow night will be the season debut of Derek Holland, and I honestly don’t k.ow what to expect from the young man. He could be good, but odds are he will be rusty and on a very short pitch count. Lots of bull pen pitchers in this one.

Nick Tepesch goes on Wednesday. He has been either spot on or terrible this season, and he can’t seem to buy a win. If he is on though, he is very good. When he misses, he tends to miss over the plate, which is great for opposing hitters!

KOK – Series Prediction?
I think the Royals take 2 out of 3. The Rangers and series wins just are not compatable this season, and the Royals are in a pennant race and are highly motivated while rhe Rangers are not.

Probably Pitching Match-ups:
Monday, 7:05 pm – Colby Lewis/RHP (9-11, 5.44) v. Yordano Ventura/RHP (10-9, 3.40)
Tuesday, 7:05 pm – Derek Holland/LHP (1st start of 2014) v. Jeremy Guthrie/RHP (10-10, 4.43)
Wednesday, 2:05 pm – Nick Tepesch/RHP (4-8, 4.44) v. Jason Vargas/LHP (10-7, 3.27)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – Kansas City will throw the three arms who saw action when these teams last met. Ventura is back after missing his start last week against Minnesota but returns tonight versus Lewis. Guthrie faces Holland who is making his 2014 debut on Tuesday night. Can Vargas bounce back after some so-so outings of late?

Series Predictions – Sure the Rangers aren’t great, but this is a series the Royals need to win, heck a sweep would be nice. Added importance is that Cleveland/Detroit are facing off which can only help KC. PREDICTION: Royals take two of three.

2014 Meeting:
These teams just met a couple weeks ago in Arlington with Kansas City taking two-of-three from Texas by scores of 6-3 (twice) and a 3-1 loss. Ventura and Guthrie claimed wins while Vargas took the defeat in the finale.

Franchise History:
The Royals now lead the all-time series 270-257 after adding two more wins against the Rangers. KC owns a 147-120 in the city of fountains and 133-107 at the K.

TV/Radio Coverage:
Fans can tune into FOX Sports Kansas City for both games with Ryan Lefebvre  and Rex Hudler on TV. Joel Goldberg hosts Royals Live with Jeff Montgomery from Rivals. Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews is joined in the booth by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart will be on the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) describing the action from Coors Field.

AL Central Standings (September 1):
Kansas City Royals (74-61, – GB)
Detroit Tigers (74-62, .5 GB)
Cleveland Indians (70-64, 3.5 GB)
Chicago White Sox (62-75, 13 GB)
Minnesota Twins (60-77, 15 GB)

Series Schedule/Results v. Rangers
August 22-24, 2014 – Globe Life Park: W 6-3, W 6-3, L 3-1
September 1-3, 2014 – Kauffman Stadium

Game Notes:
Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals

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