The Texas Rangers arrive to face the Athletics in Oakland after a rambunctious finale to the Rangers' series against Toronto. How will they handle coming down from the intensity of that series and how will the A's handle facing a club that still has to be emotionally affected from Sunday's events? We shall see.
Texas owns the 10th best wRC+ in the AL at 95 with a .260/.320/.414 batting line, two spots ahead of the A's on 90 (.246/.297/.388). What keeps the Rangers from doing better is their 7.4% walk rate that ranks 13th in the AL, though they have the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (18.9%).
Five left-handers are scheduled to head to the mound for the three contests, with the A's substituting Jesse Hahn for Eric Surkamp on Tuesday. On facing left-handers, the Rangers have an advantage, owning a 102 wRC+ (.290/.332/429) against Oakland's 87 (.245/.279/.398). Oakland only has six starts against left-handers, however, and two of them (Chris Sale and Jose Quintana) could be competing for the AL Cy Young this year. Texas has had 10 starts against lefties, one against Jose Quintana.
One thing that will hurt the A's is they'll be without right-handed batting Josh Phegley for at least Monday's contest. Matt McBride will take the catching duties in Game 1.
|Texas Rangers vs. LHP|
|Oakland A's vs. LHP|
Probable matchups and broadcast schedule
Two night games on CSN California will be followed by a day game on MLB Network simulcasting the visiting broadcast:
|Time (PT)||TV||Texas||Oakland||Coliseum promotions|
|Mon.||7:05 PM||CSNCA||LHP Derek Holland (3-2, 6.09)||LHP Sean Manaea (0-1, 11.37)|
|Tue.||7:05 PM||CSNCA||LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 2.95)||
Free parking Tuesday
Korean Heritage Night (special ticket)
|Wed.||12:35 PM||MLBN||LHP Martin Perez (1-3 3.23)||LHP Rich Hill (5-3, 2.68)|
All left-handed starting pitchers in this series. Very strange.
Monday: LHP Derek Holland vs. LHP Sean Manaea
A pair of struggling lefties takes the mound, the veteran Derek Holland goes against rookie Sean Manaea. Holland has failed to get out of the third inning in each of his last two starts, and he's allowed a combined 16 runs in those two (15 earned). Sean Manaea is a candidate for demotion if he doesn't perform better than his own failure to get out of the third inning in his last start.
Tuesday: LHP Cole Hamels vs.
LHP Eric Surkamp RHP Jesse Hahn
Cole Hamels was everything the Rangers were looking for when they acquired him and Jake Diekman at the trade deadline last year for multiple prospects. It is possible to catch him on an off day, but he has at least finished five innings in all of his starts, and already has four quality starts to his credit.
Fly ball pitcher Eric Surkamp will need to take advantage of the night time contest and hope the marine layer rolls in. If Jesse Hahn brings that groundball mojo he brought to his first start, he's a perfect choice for a night predicted to be pretty warm, with game time temperature around 74 degrees.
Wednesday: LHP Martin Perez vs. LHP Rich Hill
His ERA says Martin Perez has improved, but FIP disagrees, and so the question is who is the real Martin Perez? Is it the one that walks one out of every eight batter he faces or is the one who leaves on base 75.7% of the runners he does put on with a .248 BABIP against?
Rich Hill pitches on Wednesday, and I am very excited for that.
The A's can exploit Texas' bullpen, which ranks last in the AL in ERA (5.18) and FIP (5.52). Their closer, Shawn Tolleson, is 11-for-14 in save situations and owns a 7.07 ERA; he is tied for the most blown saves in the AL. Tom Wilhelmsen was demoted after throwing 31 pitches in earning his second blown save on Sunday, while Sam Dyson has one blown save of his own.
They have cycled out poor performers, including Phil Klein, Cesar Ramos (to the rotation), Keone Kela, Anthony Ranaudo, and the aforementioned Wilhelmsen, and what's left could put up some decent performances. The A's can't rely on late-inning heroics like they did against Tampa Bay.
Toronto gave the Rangers bullpen quite a workout this week both on the mound and in making the relievers run out from the outfield bullpens a couple of times:
|Rangers bullpen||Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)|
|A's bullpen||Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)|
Dual event advisory
Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder tips at 6:00 PM PT on Monday night. Therefore, parking is up to the dual event price of $40 and officials are recommending patrons of either event to take BART or other transit alternatives.
This article was updated to reflect Monday's news that Jesse Hahn will start Tuesday.