08/29/10 3:19 PM ET
Rangers happy to be playing in Kansas City
By Dan Mennella / MLB.com
Could he keep it up? Would he wilt in the Texas heat as the summer wore on and the innings piled up?
Wilson has let his performance answer those questions. Through eight second-half starts, the left-hander is 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA, including a win over the tough Twins lineup in his outing on Thursday.
"C.J. gave us six good innings," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Thursday's game. "The fourth and fifth innings they worked him pretty good, but he battled."
Battling has been a familiar refrain for the one-time closer/setup man, who was prone to making the late innings exciting for Texas and its fans when called upon in tight games.
Wilson's success as a starter, however, has not been the product of smoke and mirrors, and he actually appears to be getting stronger as the season moves along rather than tiring.
His strikeouts per nine innings has rocketed up to 9.2 in the second half, up significantly from his competent 6.5 first-half mark. The uptick in punchouts has seen Wilson nearly double his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 1.49 in the first half to 2.89 since the All-Star break.
Whether the Rangers will look to curb Wilson's innings total a bit as the regular season winds down remains to be seen -- he's already at 164 innings on the year, and his previous season-high was 73 2/3 in 2009. But he's not showing any signs of slowing down.
Starting opposite Wilson in Monday's series opener between the Rangers and Royals will be Kyle Davies.
Davies will be looking to close out what has been a forgettable month of August. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.14 ERA in five August starts. Promisingly, his strikeouts are up to a healthy 8.0 per nine innings (his best in any month this season), but he's allowed hits in bunches and walked too many, bringing his August WHIP up to a whopping 1.71.
Davies' last start was one he'd like to quickly forget, as he was roughed up by the Tigers to the tune of 12 hits and seven earned runs in 4 2/3 frames. He threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes, but felt he was victimized by some bad luck and a good offense.
"I had a good game plan going into the game and made some pitches, for the most part," Davies said. "But you have to give them credit."
Rangers: Happy to see KC
Monday marks the beginning of an 11-day, 10-game, three-city road swing for the Rangers, but they've enjoyed their stays at their first destination, Kauffman Stadium, in the recent past. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Rangers are 8-3 at The K, and they're 35-20 vs. the Royals overall since the beginning of the 2004 campaign. The Rangers have already clinched the season series against the Royals, marking the sixth time in the past seven seasons they've finished .500 or better against Kansas City.
Royals: Knack for nail-biters
The Royals have endured a tough season, but their games have been anything but dull. Kansas City is tops in the Major Leagues in one-run ballgames, reclaiming that lead with its one-run loss to the Tribe on Saturday night. The Cubs are one behind the Royals' 49 one-run decisions with 48.
The A's Dallas Braden shut out Texas with the benefit of just one strikeout at Rangers Ballpark on Saturday night, the first time a pitcher has spun a shutout with one or no strikeouts in the history of the Rangers' digs (opened in 1994). It was the first time the Rangers have been shut out in such a manner since May 12, 1985, against the Indians at the now-defunct Arlington Stadium. ... 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke is not among the favorites to claim that honor again this season, but he nonetheless continues to pitch well, logging his 19th quality start of the season in Saturday's no-decision to the Indians.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.