Last season, Bruce Chen revitalized his career at the age of 33,
leading the Kansas City Royals in victories. He’s proving that
success wasn’t an anomaly with a solid start to 2011.
Chen looks to remain unbeaten when he tries to help the Royals
avoid being swept by the Texas Rangers on Sunday in Arlington.
Kansas City (12-9) is the 10th team for which Chen (3-0, 2.42
ERA) has played since breaking into the majors with Atlanta in
1998. After going 1-13 between 2006-09, the left-handed journeyman
went 12-7 last season, leading the Royals in victories despite
opening the year in the bullpen.
Chen has won seven straight decisions going back to last year,
and has posted a 0.86 ERA in his last three starts. He yielded two
runs in seven innings of a 5-4 home win over Cleveland on
The Royals tried to pull Chen after he gave up a single with a
five-run lead in the seventh, but the bullpen phone didn’t work and
he allowed another two hits, including a two-run double.
Chen is making his first start against the Rangers (13-7) since
2006. He faced them once as a reliever last season, allowing one
run and one hit in 1 2-3 innings.
Texas infielder Michael Young, who is 4 for 10 off Chen, had two
of the Rangers’ four hits and scored a run in Saturday’s 3-1
Darren Oliver worked a perfect ninth for his fourth major league
save in 602 career appearances, becoming the first Texas pitcher to
earn a save after closer Neftali Feliz (right shoulder
inflammation) landed on the disabled list earlier Saturday. At 40,
Oliver also became the oldest pitcher ever to save a game for the
“I figure if you’re 40 years old, you’re going to be in a lot of
history books about something,” he said.
The Rangers have won their last two games after losing six of
Texas has won seven straight at home against Kansas City, which
went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position Saturday. The Royals
have dropped five of seven overall.
“We couldn’t capitalize, and I’m speaking of myself,” said
designated hitter Billy Butler, who went 0 for 4.
Already assured of losing its first series of the season, Kansas
City will try to avoid the sweep when it faces Rangers starter C.J.
Wilson (2-0, 3.08).
Wilson had his best start of the young season Monday, giving up
one run while striking out nine in seven innings of a 7-1 victory
over the Angels.
“I felt a little bit more myself. I still don’t feel like I’m
all the way back to where I want to be yet,” said Wilson, who
lowered his ERA from 3.72. “I ended up throwing a ton of pitches.
… I was getting ahead of a lot of guys, but not able to put away
The left-hander was 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA in two starts against
the Royals last season. He also has made 10 career relief
appearances against them.