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Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Oakland Athletics - How The West Was Won?

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This three week long AL West carousel is coming to a close not to be reopened again until mid-September after this weekend's series. Make sure you reserve your seats. Since July 22nd, the Rangers have played nothing but divisional opponents in what was considered a crucial segment of the season's schedule. So far the Rangers have gone 8-5 and have seen their lead in the West swell from 5 games to 8 1/2. I'd say that's a pretty good way to maximize on "crucial." The Angels in this stretch have gone 3-10. They've seen the number of games they trail in the West double from 5 to 10. They're done. So now, we're left with the A's. In this stretch they've gone 6-6. They're treading water.

However, if you check out Robbie Griffin's Series Expectations, you'll notice the A's are slightly favored in this series (We're talking fractions of percentage points, but go along with me here). The problem for the A's though is a sweep at this point would ultimately be the only thing that can put a dent in the Rangers lead enough to make the race interesting again and sweeps don't happen that often. I wouldn't expect to see a sweep in this series for either team considering the pitching match-ups. So unless a nearly 1 in 10 shot falls for the A's, and they sweep, the Rangers go home to face the Yankees and Red Sox with their nearly insurmountable lead still intact.

Friday, August 6 9:05: LHP Cliff Lee! vs. LHP Dallas Braden

Saturday, August 7 3:10: RHP Rich Harden vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez

Sunday, August 8 3:05: RHP Colby Lewis vs. RHP Trevor Cahill

Trevor Cahill has been good, it's true. I've heard talk though that's he's reached top 5 starter in the AL status. As a Rangers fan, I could see how that thought process might come about. He's murder on legs against the Rangers. He is a top pitcher in the AL against the Rangers. But against the entire league, on the season, his numbers are filled with Tommy Hunter-esque deception. He is currently sporting a FIP of 4.16. And when you marry that FIP to his ERA (2.72) you get an ERA to FIP that is second worst in all of baseball at -1.44. He has a BABIP of .206 and a K/9 of only 5.23. I have a hard time believing this kind of success is ultimately sustainable with those numbers.

I do suspect he'll pitch well again on Sunday for the third time this year he's faced off against Colby Lewis. And I also suspect he'll continue to improve and perhaps someday be one of the better pitchers in the AL. However, I don't think he's one of the best in the league right now. On his own team, on the season, Dallas Braden and Gio Gonzalez have pitched better than Cahill. You know, except for when he pitches against the Rangers.

AccuScore Fun Fact:

     TEAM              26-Jul      2-Aug     % DIFF   WIN DIV

Texas Rangers       95.5%      98.7%      3.2%      98.7%

That's right, 98.7%. The Rangers might be more reliable than birth control at this point.

Oakland4_medium

Oakland Athletics (54-53, 2nd place AL West)

Rangers' 2010 Record vs. Oakland: 5-4

Oakland's Recent Results: 2-1 Series win against the Kansas City Royals

SBN A's Blog: Athletics Nation

     Match-up: (as of 8/05)

       Rangers

A's

Advantage

Batting

(RAR)

172.8

           (6th)

124.8

(17th)

Rangers


Starters

(RAR)

72.8

(20th)

88.4

(12th)

A's

Bullpen

(RAR)

36.6

(5th)

5.3

(24th)

Rangers

Overall RAR

282.2

218.5

Rangers!

Defense Runs Saved

16

43

A's


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions to Ponder:

  • Did you know Josh Hamilton (40.8) is one of only two people in MLB with an offensive Runs Above Replacement above 40? The other person is of course Miguel Cabrera who is leading baseball with a ridiculous 44.5. If he weren't fat and terrible defensively, he'd be easily the most valuable player in baseball, however, that is a distinction that belongs to Josh Hamilton.
  • Contrary to what I said about Trevor Cahill above, did you know Brett Anderson has a FIP of 2.42 and a BABIP of .302? Even though he hasn't pitched much this season due to an injury that sidelined him early this year, Brett Anderson is for real and it is bad that he is an Athletic.
  • Over/Under: 3.5 walks by Sexy Rich Harden?
  • What kind of odds would you have given me on Cliff Pennington (2.4 WAR) being the most valuable Athletic in August of this season in Spring Training?
  • I guess I get Brad Pitt as Billy Beane. It's kind of masturbatory, but sure. And yes, Philip Seymour Hoffman makes some sense considering he has acted in a Bennett Miller film before. But Jonah Hill as DePodesta? That's just cold. If you were casting the Rangers for the inevitable movie about this season, how would it go? I'm calling Brian Cox as Hicks since Brian Cox is in everything.