Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Oakland A's - No Pressure

At least there's never concern that they'll block anyone's view - Jason O. Watson

The second leg of this west coast road trip finds the Rangers in Oakland with basically the entire season on the line

Series Schedule:

Monday, June 16 9:05: LHP Drew Pomeranz vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Tuesday, June 17 9:05: LHP Tommy Milone vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Wednesday, June 18 2:35: RHP Sonny Gray vs. RHP Nick Tepesch

I guess it's pretty rare that the most important series of the season comes in the middle of June but for these Rangers, that's probably true right now. Seems like a lot longer than seven weeks ago that the Rangers were in Oakland finishing up a sweep of the A's to move into first place in the AL West. Given how things have gone since then, it seems amazing that that ever happened.

Then again, back then, seven weeks ago, the Rangers pretty much had an entirely different roster. Back then, seven weeks ago, Kevin Kouzmanoff was carrying the offense and Martin Perez was tossing shutouts. Back then, seven weeks ago, Prince Fielder wasn't (officially) done yet. Back then, seven weeks ago, we were anticipating the return of Matt Harrison. So back then, seven weeks ago, the season still looked relatively bright.

Now the Rangers are under .500, in 4th place, and have someone named Brad Snyder featured prominently in the lineup. For the Rangers, if they don't play well in this series, or have the results to back it up, there's a good chance that Jon Daniels will start to field a few more phone calls on the remaining players with value. Should the Rangers win a few games in this series, perhaps that does enough to allow the front office to see how things play out over the next month or so. It's not like anyone else is running away with the American League. I mean, other than the A's that is.

So, in mid-June, the Rangers play to essentially keep the band together long enough to see if a Wild Card spot is viable. Or, at the very least, you hope they play to make sure things aren't entirely too easy for the A's.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against those shit-ass A's:

  • Colby Lewis: 4-4, 7.60 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, .394 BABIP, 70.6% LOB, 4.14 FIP, 4.60 xFIP, 0.8 WAR - Last three starts: 13 runs allowed in 15.2 innings
  • Drew Pomeranz: 5-3, 7.62 K/9, 3.63 BB/9, .235 BABIP, 90.9% LOB, 4.10 FIP, 3.88 xFIP, 0.3 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 19.1 innings

Thoughts: Leave it to the A's to convert a busted reliever prospect into a starter and have it work out pretty well rather than have him become Tanner Scheppers. Then again, surely a .235 BABIP and 90.9% strand rate is sustainable, right?

The last time Colby pitched in Oakland, he broke. All that and Trevor Cahill wasn't even the opposing pitcher. Now he's taking his .394 BABIP to Oakland against a team that's been raking. Gulp.

  • Yu Darvish: 7-2, 10.65 K/9, 2.85 BB/9, .303 BABIP, 85.7% LOB, 2.50 FIP, 3.15 xFIP, 2.9 WAR - Two starts in 2014: 4 runs allowed in 24.0 innings
  • Tommy Milone: 4-3, 5.70 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, .271 BABIP, 76.4% LOB, 4.28 FIP, 4.56 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Last three appearances: 7 runs allowed in 18.2 innings

Thoughts: Here we go again. Maybe Coco Crisp has a sprained pinkie or something and doesn't pester Yu or Brandon Moss remembers that he's Brandon Moss and doesn't hit a couple of home runs and Yu Darvish can make it out of Oakland with a decent start for the first time ever.

I don't know that I could pick Tommy Milone out of a crowd of two people so it makes sense that he's having a decent season in Oakland.

  • Nick Tepesch: 2-2, 6.47 K/9, 3.66 BB/9, .277 BABIP, 79.0% LOB, 4.99 FIP, 4.46 xFIP, 0.2 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 13.2 innings
  • Sonny Gray: 6-3, 7.73 K/9, 3.13 BB/9, .272 BABIP, 77.0% LOB, 3.32 FIP, 3.42 xFIP, 1.6 WAR - Last three starts: 11 runs allowed in 18.0 innings

Thoughts: The last time the Rangers faced Sonny Gray in Oakland it was the final game of a three-game set with the Rangers winning to sweep the A's. Of course, the Rangers had a pre-broken Martin Perez tossing his second consecutive shutout in that game while this time they'll have Nick Tepesch trying for his second consecutive decent start. Since then, Gray faced the Rangers in Arlington and shut them out himself. As you might imagine, the Rangers won't be favorites in this game.

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Oakland A's (42-27, 1st Place in AL West)

Rangers' Record vs. Oakland: 3-3 (3-0 at O.co)

Oakland's Recent Results: 2-1 home series win against the New York Yankees

Oakland's Home Record: 19-13

O.co Coliseum Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 76/99 - Runs: 85/99

SB Nation A's Blog: Athletics Nation

Match-up: (as of 06/16) Rangers Athletics Advantage
Batting (RAR) -22.6 (18th) 31.6 (2nd) Obviously the A's benefit from hitting at O.co
Base Running (RAR) 0.9 (13th) -5.4 (28th) Look, something the A's are bad at
Starters (RAR) 34.3 23.9 Suck it, A's
Bullpen (RAR)

26.0 (2nd)

23.8 (5th) Suck it, A's
Defense (UZR) -10.8 (22nd) 23.5 (2nd) :(
Overall (UZR + RAR) 27.8 97.4

It's almost like the A's are good or something

Questions to Answer:

  • Will Josh Donaldson collect a hit in this series after getting a hit for the first time in a week last night?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Adrian Beltre is going to hit a couple of smelly guys waving flags in the stands.)
  • Over/Under: 2.5 sewage delays in this three-game series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Yu Darvish on Tuesday against the one team he looks mortal against?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers win this series against the A's to stave off the fire sale for a little while longer?
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