The Oakland Athletics will head back out on the road Friday where they will begin a six-game road trip with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. Despite having a 43-97 record for the season, the A’s have won four of their last six games and are looking to finish the regular season strong.
The Rangers come into the series struggling and are fighting for their playoff lives. Texas led the AL West for most of the regular season, but are just 24-24 since the All-Star break and are 1-5 in September. They have lost three straight games and are now 3.0 games back of the Astros for the division lead and are a half game back of the Blue Jays for the final wild card spot.
Paul Blackburn will get the start for Oakland in the series opener and will be looking to continue a good run of starts. Since the start of August, Blackburn has a 2.27 ERA and a 3.26 FIP over 35 2/3 innings, a stretch encompassing six starts. He allowed just four hits and one run over five innings in his last outing against the Angels.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery will be on the mound for the Rangers Friday night. Montgomery is looking to bounce back from a rough outing last time out where he allowed six runs in just 3 2/3 innings against the Twins. He faced the A’s back on August 9 in Oakland and allowed seven hits and two runs over six innings.
The A’s enjoyed an off day Thursday and have just two more off days over their final 23 games of the season. They avoided a sweep to Toronto Wednesday with a 5-2 win. Both Carlos Perez and Kevin Smith homered in that win. Smith was called up to the active roster to replace Lawrence Butler, who was placed on the bereavement list. Butler is expected to return for Friday’s game in Texas.
Mason Miller also made his long awaited return after a lengthy stint on the injured list. Miller struck out three and tossed two perfect innings in relief against the Blue Jays. He is expected to be capped to around 50 pitches per appearance over the final few weeks of the regular season.
Game Date/Time: Friday, September 8, 5:05 p.m. PDT
Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
Radio: A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM / 103.7 HD2