W2W4: Rangers at Royals

The Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals play a three-game set to start September. The Royals are in the pennant chase, while the Rangers have a chance to play spoiler.

Here's a preview:

What’s up with the Royals? Kansas City leads the AL Central by half-a-game over Detroit and has lost its last three completed games. Sunday’s contest with Cleveland was suspended because of rain in the 10th inning with the Royals trailing 4-2. Despite the current losing streak, the Royals have won 14 of their last 21 games at Kauffman Stadium. The first-place Royals are last in baseball in home runs (86) and walks (316) but lead the majors with 124 stolen bases. LF Alex Gordon (team-leading .280 BA) has eight home runs and 17 RBIs since the All-Star break. SS Alcides Escobar has a six-game hitting streak going and DH Billy Butler leads the team with 135 hits.

What’s up with the Rangers? The Rangers are 3-4 on this 10-game road trip which ends with three games in K.C. Six of RF Alex Rios’ last seven hits have been doubles and he reached base three times in Sunday’s loss, the first time he’s done that since July 29. 1B Ryan Rua has a hit in his first three major league games. CF Daniel Robertson has a career-high seven-game hitting streak where he’s hitting .421. 3B Adrian Beltre has reached base in his last 16 games. He walked twice Sunday.

The return of Derek Holland: The left-hander is scheduled to make his season debut Tuesday night. Holland has missed the entire season recovering from left knee surgery. Holland is 2-1 in seven games lifetime against the Royals with a 4.67 ERA. Holland participated in pitching drills and threw a bullpen session Saturday in Houston. Holland said he feels strong mentally and physically.

The pitching matchups: Monday: RHP Colby Lewis (9-11, 5.44) vs. RHP Yordano Ventura (10-9, 3.40). Tuesday: LHP Holland (season debut) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (10-10, 4.43). Wednesday: RHP Nick Tepesch (4-8, 4.44) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (10-7, 3.27)