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Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Oakland Athletics - West Coast Swing

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Coco Crisp Day at the O.co
Coco Crisp Day at the O.co

Well, at least over the next ten days it won't be 100+ degrees evenings for the Rangers. While we will sweat out consecutive days over 100 degree streaks and heat exhaustion warnings here in Texas, the Rangers will be embarking on their longest remaining road trip of the season. It all begins in Oakland where the game time temperature could be as much as 35 degrees cooler than the average game at The Ballpark over the last month or so. Chances are, the game will end with a temperature below 60 degrees. The last time it was below 60 degrees in Arlington was in May.

For the Rangers, however, cooling down isn't exactly an option. Before the Rangers return home, they will have a better idea of what kind of race they will face with just a week or so before the final month of the season begins. With three games in Oakland, four huge games in Anaheim, and a three game set in Chicago, the Rangers cannot afford excuses. It can't be about the heat because it won't be hot on this trip. It can't be about being a mediocre road team because the match-ups favor the Rangers. It can't be about the bullpen because that area of the team has been improved. And even though Adrian Beltre is still out with a sore hamstring, it can't be about injuries because the team has been relatively healthy for months. (I'm knocking on so much wood.)

With just a little over six weeks remaining in the season, the opportunity to build on a series winning streak arises for the Rangers in Oakland. Though the Coliseum has never been a place the Rangers have had an easy time winning at, having gone 20-25 over the last five years there, the fact is, while homefield gives the A's a better chance to win, the Rangers are the better team. And that's pretty much what it comes down to for this stretch run. The Rangers are a better team than a nearly all of the teams in baseball, but they still have to win the games. It's interesting though, that it might take getting hot on the road to finish the job.

Friday, August 12 9:05: LHP C.J. Wilson vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy

Saturday, August 13 3:10: RHP Colby Lewis vs. RHP Trevor Cahill

Sunday, August 14 3:05: LHP Matt Harrison vs. RHP Rich Harden

According to my research and calculations, Colby Lewis and Trevor Cahill have squared off against each other 873 times since the start of last season.

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Oakland Athletics (53-64, 3rd Place AL West)

Rangers 2011 Record vs. Oakland: 6-4 (1-3 at O.co Coliseum)

Oakland's Recent Results: 2-1 Series win against the Toronto Blue Jays

Oakland's Home Record: 31-24

O.co Coliseum Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 89/80 - wOBA: 95/94

SB Nation A's Blog: Athletics Nation

 

Match-up: (as of 8/12)        Rangers  Athletics Advantage
Batting
(RAR)
             82.3
            (3rd)
-29.4
(22nd)
Rangers
Starters
(RAR)
67.3 46.2 Rangers
Bullpen
(RAR)
-2.2
(28th)
25.5
(8th)
A's
Defense
UZR
13.1
(7th)
-13.3
(24th)
Rangers

Overall RAR + UZR

160.5

29.0

Rangers!

Questions to Answer:

  • Will C.J. Wilson hear any boos tonight? (By which I mean, will there be enough people in attendance to make any booing audible?)
  • Which pitcher in the Rangers organization gets released after years of failure/mediocrity/injuries only to succeed in Oakland next? (It's gotta be Pedro Strop, right?)
  • Who is your pick to lead the Rangers in foul balls that would have been out of play at the Ballpark but are pop outs at the Coliseum? (It's definitely going to be David Murphy.)
  • Over/Under: 3.5 runs scored by the Rangers against Trevor Cahill?
  • What is your prediction for Rangers record during this ten game road trip? I'll go 6-4.