Series Preview: The Swingin' A's @ The Buntin' Rangers

It's an early May tickle fight for the AL West division lead this week in Arlington. The good news is there's only about a 1 in 12,000 chance an A's starter pitches as well as Dallas Braden did on Sunday. The bad news is there's a 1 in 1 chance that Ryan Sweeney was born solely to cause misery.

Tuesday, May 11 7:05: RHP Trevor Cahill vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Wednesday, May 12 7:05: LHP Gio Gonzalez vs. LHP Derek Holland

Thursday, May 13 1:05: RHP Ben Sheets vs. LHP C.J. Wilson

With Brett Anderson and Justin Duchscherer injured and Dallas Braden busy scheduling a parade for himself in the 209, the Rangers will be facing off against the soft underbelly of the A's rotation. However, this particular underbelly is ripe with potential smelly hazards. Trevor Cahill is going to be a really good big league pitcher someday soon. Unfortunately for the Texas Rangers, against them, he already is. Cahill is 4-1 against the Rangers and 7-13 against everyone else. But since wins is pretty meaningless stat, it's also of note that Cahill gives the Texas Rangers his best SO/BB, SO/9, SO, WHIP and opponent's OPS & OBP for any team he has faced more than twice.

Gio Gonzalez is a lefty, 'nuff said. However, Ben Sheets has been fairly terrible this year. Some of it has been a bit of bad luck as he is facing a .335 BAPIP, but it's not terrible luck. He's not striking out nearly as many guys as he has in the past and he's walking almost twice as many as his career average. That's a recipe that has him at a 5.46 FIP. Welcome to the American League, Ben.

The Rangers will be running out what could easily be their playoff rotation in five months (*fingers crossed*). Colby Lewis continues to be one of the best value signings of the off season. He ranks third in the AL in SO/9 and while he is walking nearly 4 a game, his success probably hasn't been luck so far. He has a BABIP is .278 which isn't exceedingly low. If he continues to strike dudes out, he'll continue to be good.

Derek Holland makes his debut at the price of Matt Harrison's left arm. There's been talk that Holland still needs some polish on his off speed stuff, but I think it's a good time to see what he can do in the big leagues. As bad Holland's ERA was last year in the big leagues, his peripherals weren't horrible and as a lefty with the ability to strike guys out, I wouldn't be surprised if Holland ended up being the second or third best starter for the Rangers this season.

C.J. Wilson is awesome, 'nuff said.

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Oakland Athletics (17-15, 2nd place AL West)

Rangers' 2010 Record vs. Oakland: 1-2 at Oakland Coliseum

Oakland's Recent Results: 2-1 Series win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (And oh yes, a perfect game thrown in the mix)

SBN A's Blog: Athletics Nation

     Match-up:

   Rangers

  A's

Advantage

Batting

(RAR)

33.5

         (17th)

22.6

(22nd)

Rangers

Starters

(RAR)

23.6

(16th)

23.0

(18th)

Rangers

Bullpen

(RAR)

-1.6

(27th)

6.6

(6th)

A’s

Overall RAR

55.5

52.2

Rangers

Defense Runs Saved

11

11

Push

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions to ponder:

  • Will Colby Lewis be able to keep his K's per 9 over 10?
  • Does Ben Sheets miss being a 2009 honorary Texas Rangers?
  • Will Vladimir Guerrero be the first man to leave a bruise on a building after his continued beatings of the Ballpark in Arlington?
  • Will Ryan Sweeney make a home run robbing catch, ascend further to the heavens, before flying off into the sky exclaiming, "My planet needs me!"?
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