Millwood (7-8, 5.56 ERA) is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts at Kansas City. In his lone outing with Texas at Kauffman Stadium, he gave up two runs and seven hits over seven innings of a 6-2 win on June 6, 2006.
The right-hander will be seeking his first victory this year against an AL Central club after going 0-3 with a 9.20 ERA in his three previous starts.
Although Millwood is enduring a difficult season, he has pitched better in July. He improved to 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts this month after beating Seattle on Monday by yielding four runs over 5 1-3 innings in an 8-7 win.
Texas (46-57) had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 6-1 loss Friday. The Rangers got their only run when Sammy Sosa hit his 604th career homer in the eighth inning.
The Rangers dealt veteran outfielder Kenny Lofton to Cleveland on Friday for minor league catcher Max Ramirez.
The move allows Marlon Byrd to move into center field while Nelson Cruz will take over in right. Texas manager Ron Washington indicated both players will play every day for the rest of the season to evaluate how they fit in to the club’s future.
“This is it, do or die for me,” Byrd told the Rangers’ official Web site. “I’ve never been one to put pressure on myself but this my last best chance to re-establish myself as an everyday player. I definitely feel I can do it. I’ve done it before.”
Byrd, a six-year veteran playing for his third organization, is hitting .343 with 29 runs scored in 55 games since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma on May 26.
Kansas City (45-57) took the opener of this series between last-place teams behind Brian Bannister’s six scoreless innings. Billy Butler had a three-run homer and Mark Grudzielanek had three hits for the Royals, who have won two straight after a three-game losing streak.
Grudzielanek is 20-for-40 with 11 runs scored during a season-high nine-game hitting streak. He’s also a .347 (17-for-49) hitter in his career against Texas.
Kansas City will start veteran Odalis Perez (5-9, 5.80), who is 0-5 with a 6.17 ERA in his last eight home starts. Those woes continued Monday, when he gave up four runs over seven innings in a 9-2 loss to the New York Yankees.
The Rangers are the only club that Perez has never faced, but he has some experience against several of their hitters from his National League days with Atlanta and Los Angeles. Sosa has the most at-bats of any Texas batter against the left-hander, going 4-for-12 with one homer.