After what turned out to be a tumultuous off day, the Oakland Athletics will return to the field Friday where they will begin a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. The A’s have lost seven straight and nine of 10 overall. JP Sears will get the start for the A’s while the Rangers will go with veteran righty Jon Gray.
Sears has been one of the few bright spots for a rotation that will enter Friday’s game with an 8.59 ERA and a 6.75 FIP through the first 19 games of the season. Sears has allowed three runs or less in all three of his starts and limited the Mets to four hits and two runs over six innings in his last outing.
Offensively, the A’s need another jump start. After 29 runs during a four-game stretch, Oakland hasn’t scored more than three runs in any of its last five games. They were outscored 26-3 during a three-game sweep at home by the Cubs.
Esteury Ruiz has been a bright spot for the A’s recently and has moved into the leadoff spot. He is hitting .302/.389/.365 with a 129 wRC+, but there are some warning signs. Despite that .389 on-base percentage, Ruiz is carrying a walk-rate of just 4.1%. His last base on balls came on April 5. For the season, Ruiz has three walks and has been hit by a pitch six times. Ruiz’s other inputs look good. He has a .348 wOBA which is pretty much in line with his .351 xwOBA. You’d just like to see the walk-rate start to go up as he settles into that leadoff role.
Gray will be making his fourth start of the season and will be returning to the mound for the first time since taking a line drive off his throwing arm in a game against the Astros. Gray had allowed just one hit to that point and would exit after just two innings. However, X-rays came back negative and Gray make his next scheduled start in Friday’s opener. Gray has allowed a total of five runs in 14 innings so far this season.
Game Date/Time: Friday, April 21, 5:05 p.m. PDT
Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
Radio: A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM / 103.7 HD2