On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2012 season.
The Opponent: Even the most optimistic of Royals fans thought their team was still a year away from contending when this season got started, but there was still hope that the train might arrive ahead of schedule. That hope died when the team lost 14 of their first 17 games, including a 12-game losing streak. Now the Royals are just scrambing against a losing record.
Past 2012 Meetings: This is the first meeting of the season between the teams, so we'll use this space to discuss the oddity of the schedule. They play twice in Arlington this week and then they'll play seven games against each other in Kansas City. Basically, this is your chance if you want to see the Royals live this year.
Pitching Matchups: Monday - Bruce Chen (1-4, 4.83) vs. Scott Feldman (0-0, 4.35); Tuesday - Royals TBD (possibly Vin Mazzaro's first start of 2012) vs. Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.69)
What's Hot: Josh Hamilton has been using the music from The Natural to accompany him to the plate from some time and it's not unusual to see references to him as a real-life Roy Hobbs, but there's never been anything quite like what we watched this week. Nine homers in seven games is the stuff of pure legend and we're already starting to keep an eye on the possibility of a Triple Crown. Not bad for a guy that's looking for work after this year.
Mike Moustakas' debut with the Royals didn't go quite as planned last season. The second overall pick of the 2007 Draft looked a little lost offensively, but he found his way. He's hitting .308, drilling doubles and back to looking like a foundation piece in Kansas City.
It's just the middle of May, but figuring out a way that the American League pennant doesn't go through Arlington would probably make you a frontrunner for the Nobel Prize. The Angels don't have a great chance of being nine games better the rest of the way and the AL East teams will bash each other just enough to keep the best record from being an imposing one.
What's Not: The Royals have developed some fine young hitters, but they can't seem to get anything going on the mound. They've already used seven starters this season, only two of whom have posted ERAs under 4.76. Until that turns around, Kansas City's drought will continue.
On a personal note, it's getting a bit difficult to come up with entries in this category for the Rangers. If someone could go on an epic slump or perhaps make some ill-advised comment on Twitter, we'd be much obliged.
Eric Hosmer's doing the opposite of Moustakas. His 2011 debut was very strong, but the start of his 2012 season has been highly unsuccessful. The big thing for the Royals this season will be getting all of their promising players -- Hosmer, Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler for starters -- hitting at the same time.
Familiar Faces: Jeff Francoeur has walked nine times this season. That might not sound like a lot, but it leaves him on pace for the most of his career. Unfortunately, he's not doing much else right at the plate as the Royals' right fielder.