Royals-Rangers Preview

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

Tuesday.

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

victory.

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

Rangers.

“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

eight.

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

everybody.”

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.