The Oakland Athletics (31-41) head to Arlington, Texas with a 6-4 advantage in the season series against the Texas Rangers (37-33). The Rangers have done about as well as the A's in scoring runs in 2015, but they're doing so in the somewhat easier run-scoring environment that is Globe Life Park while the A's contend with the foul ground and marine layer at the Coliseum. The Rangers have lost three of their last four, but have won four of their last five at home.
The Rangers are in second place in the American League West. They trail the Houston Astros by three games. The A's trail the Astros by 10. The Rangers are one game behind both the Twins and Yankees for the two Wild Card spots.
Besides the league standings, all statistics and rankings are as of the end of Sunday, June 21.
On the mound
|1st (3.00)||ERA||3rd (3.57)|
|1st (3.40)||FIP||9th (4.07)|
|5th (3.78)||xFIP||14th (4.47)|
|Through June 21|
The Texas Rangers starting rotation owns the third-best ERA in the major leagues despite basically losing an entire starting rotation to the 60-day disabled list. Underperformer Ross Detwiler was quickly returned to the bullpen. Phil Klein and Anthony Ranaudo were returned to Triple-A. In their steads, free agent signee Wandy Rodriguez and trade acquisition Yovani Gallardo have been performing swimmingly alongside prospect Chi Chi Gonzalez and incumbents Nick Martinez and Colby Lewis.
Tuesday vs. RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez
|Tuesday (5:05 PM PDT)|
|Jesse Chavez||vs.||Chi Chi Gonzalez|
Against the A's on June 11, Chi Chi Gonzalez gave up just one run over seven innings despite conceding three walks and eight hits. It was the Texas bullpen that let get the game get away from the Rangers in their 0-7 loss. He's made four starts now, and has the Rangers' only complete game shutout.
Gonzalez is throwing a 93 mph fastball, sinker, slider, change, and curve, according to Brooks Baseball. One thing he has not done yet is strike out a lot of batters, which continues a trend that started in his time at Triple-A, where he has struck out just 13.8 percent of batters. He has also maintained a rather high walk rate that would rank third if he qualified for pitching titles.
Wednesday vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez
|Wednesday (5:05 PM PDT)|
|Kendall Graveman||vs.||Wandy Rodriguez|
The A's will have to send the 12th-worst offense by wRC+ (85) in the American League to the plate against southpaw Wandy Rodriguez Wednesday. Rodriguez has yet to face Oakland in this campaign.
Brooks Baseball says Rodriguez throws an 89 mph fastball, knuckle curve, sinker, and change. His walk rate of 8.4 percent is a little elevated, ranking 12th highest out of 62 American League pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched. Rodriguez has done well to keep the ball in the park, his 0.70 HR/9 is 15th lowest out of 62.
Thursday vs. RHP Colby Lewis
|Thursday (11:05 AM PDT)|
|Sonny Gray||vs.||Colby Lewis|
Right-hander Colby Lewis has faced the Athletics twice and thrown two quality starts. On April 7, Lewis allowed just three hits, two walks, and one run while striking out four to earn a 3-1 victory. On May 1, Lewis allowed just two hits, two walks, and no runs while striking out eight but earned no decision in a 5-7 loss. Lewis is currently riding a streak of four consecutive quality starts that was immediately preceded by a three-game stretch of conceding 19 earned runs in 14⅓ innings.
One thing Lewis continues to do well is not give away free passes. His 4.6 percent walk rate is sixth lowest amongst 54 qualifying American League starting pitchers.
Sure Colby Lewis is a fly ball pitcher, but he's not even particularly good at inducing an infield fly, yet his fly balls just don't leave the park. His 6.2 percent HR/FB ratio is fifth lowest among the 54 qualifiers. Lewis throws a 90 mph fastball, slider, sinker, curve, and change, says Brooks Baseball.
At the plate and in the field
|4th (4.43)||RS/G||7th (4.39)|
|5th (104)||wRC+||12th (93)|
|10th (61)||HR||6th (71)|
|T-5th (.259)||AVG||9th (.247)|
|T-6th (.323)||OBP||8th (.317)|
|T-7th (.397)||SLG||9th (.393)|
|11th (.137)||ISO||5th (.146)|
|5th (45)||SB||T-3rd (49)|
|15th (71)||Errors||14th (58)|
|7th (8)||DRS||10th (-7)|
|15th (-10.9)||UZR/150||8th (0.2)|
|6th (.719)||DE||10th (.714)|
|Through June 21|
Against right-handed pitching, the Texas Rangers have been pretty meh, ranking 10th in the American League in wRC+ (96). Overall, the Rangers have six players with a better than 100 wRC+, but three of them, Josh Hamilton, Kyle Blanks, and Delino Deshields Jr., are on the disabled list. The very strikeout prone Joey Gallo is another one of those six.
On the other end of the spectrum we have the Sogard Line. The Eric Sogard Line is Sogard's wRC+, representing my gut feel for what represents serviceable offensive production for a bottom of the order hitter with a good glove, but you probably don't want more than one or two of those in your lineup.
Sogard's wRC+ held at 70 after going 2-for-7, with a walk and one strikeout against the Angels. The Texas Rangers have given about 28 percent (736 of 2,664) of their non-pitcher plate appearances to batters batting at or below the Sogard Line, up from 13 percent at the last meeting. The increase is due to Sogard's improvement, bringing Tommy Field and Elvis Andrus below the line. Leonys Martin and his 236 plate appearances are just barely above the line at a 71 wRC+.
|12th (196.1)||IP||3rd (222.1)|
|15th (4.77)||ERA||14th (4.41)|
|13th (4.23)||FIP||15th (4.62)|
|11th (4.09)||xFIP||13th (4.33)|
|Through June 21|
The Rangers played into the 11th inning on Sunday in their walk off loss to the Chicago White Sox. They used six of their eight relievers, but have the benefit of the Monday off day, like the A's.The Texas bullpen remains a weak spot for the Rangers, being charged with 11 blown saves, good for third most in the American League, and 11 losses, tied for fifth most.
|2015 Stats||Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)|
Fifteen thousand Rangers fans will enjoy a Prince Fielder bobblehead given away at the series opener. Tuesday's game will be preceded by a moment of silence in memory of former Texas Ranger Darryl Hamilton, who died tragically on Monday.
Thursday's day game is another edition of the A's Baseball Breakfast radio simulcasts featuring Vince Cotroneo, Glen Kuiper, and Ray Fosse broadcasting from the radio broadcast booth on CSN California.
|Time (PT)||Probable starters||TV||Promotion|
|Tuesday||5:05 PM||Jesse Chavez vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez||CSNCA||Prince Fielder bobblehead|
|Wednesday||5:05 PM||Kendall Graveman vs. Wandy Rodriguez||CSNCA||Dollar Hot Dog Night|
|Thursday||11:05 AM||Sonny Gray vs. Colby Lewis||CSNCA radio simulcast||Wildlife Education Day|