By the time the action between the A’s and Rangers begins tonight, the Rays and Indians should be just about finished with their own matchups, and the Wild Card will become a little bit more clear. With a two game lead over both Tampa Bay and Cleveland, the A’s are in a more comfortable position than the team has been all year long, seemingly, but that sort of lead can vanish in a heartbeat. Fortunately, between a Rangers club that has been stumbling to the finish, a Trout-less and Ohtani-less Angels club, and the Mariners, the A’s path to the end of the season just isn’t a challenging one. The Rays still need to play both the Red Sox and Yankees for one more series each. The Indians need to play the Phillies and the Nationals for one more series each. This is the A’s spot to lose, and it would surely be awfully embarrassing if they lost it.
Entering this series, the Rangers have lost five games in a row. Three of those losses were against these very own A’s, who swept the Rangers in their final series ever at Globe Life Park. It was a ballpark that served Oakland well over the years, especially in recent years. The last few seasons, the A’s have played in Texas just about as well as they have played at home, and as such the team has dominated the season series.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, the team’s best hitter, Joey Gallo, is likely done for the season with a hand issue. The surprisingly spry three true outcomes slugger finally produced like the hitter he was projected to be back as a top prospect, but was limited to just 70 games due to injuries. Gallo’s season comes to an end with him having hit .253/.389/.598 with 22 home runs. Still kicking on the Rangers’ roster, Danny Santana, Shin-Soo Choo, and Willie Calhoun are each OPSing over .800 with 20 home run power. Rookie Nick Solak is up to .914 in his short season with the Rangers. Hunter Pence, when he was healthy, also had a strong year.
The pitching was up and down for Texas this year, but there were some very strong performances on the upside. Mike Minor was one of the most valuable pitchers in all of baseball this season, currently approaching 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts. His ERA of 3.33 leads all Texas pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched. Lance Lynn has been the other big rock in the Rangers’ rotation in 2019. In the bullpen, pitchers like Joey Leclerq and Jesse Chavez have done well to lead the way for most of the season.
It is the final home series of the year for the A’s. Rickey Henderson Field has seen 50 wins to this point this year, with a chance for three more. The next time baseball will be played under the stadium lights will be in October.
Shin-Soo Choo - DH
Elvis Andrus - SS
Willie Calhoun - LF
Nomar Mazara - RF
Danny Santana - 3B
Rougned Odor - 2B
Ronald Guzman - 1B
Delino DeShields - CF
Jose Trevino - C
Mike Fiers vs Mike Minor
Sean Manaea vs Brock Burke
Tanner Roark vs TBD
Game #154: Friday, September 20th at 7:07
Game #155: Saturday, September 21st at 6:07
Game #156: Sunday. September 22nd at 1:07
All games will be broadcast on NBCSCA.