The Oakland Athletics travel to face the Texas Rangers to close out the first half of the 2011 season. The A's struggled through a 4-5 homestand in which they took two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks but lost their series' with the Florida Marlins and Seattle Mariners. The A's face a tall order as they head down to Arlington for four games with the AL West leader. It is an opportunity to gain ground in the division, but given the A's inconsistencies this season they face a tough task.
The Rangers have dealt with a variety of injuries this season, including seeing two of their best hitters go down for extended stretches. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz both missed chunks of the season and the Rangers have still managed to hold onto their first place lead. Now that they've got their big bats back one would imagine the Rangers are due for a run.
The Rangers have had questionable pitching at times this season but appear to be getting it on track as we head into the hot Texas summer. The A's aren't scheduled to face the Rangers best pitcher, Alexi Ogando, who has been one of the bigger surprises in baseball this season. Instead they'll open against Derek Holland and then face C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Matt Harrison.
The A's will send out four guys that are all pitching rather well right now. They open with Rich Harden making his second start since a long DL stint. They'll follow that up with All Star Gio Gonzalez, recently returned Brandon McCarthy, and wrapping up with Trevor Cahill. While the A's bats can rarely compete with the Rangers, the A's pitching has the distinct advantage this weekend. The A's pitchers have had a fairly small margin for error with the A's offensive and defensive struggles and heading down into the stifling Texas heat narrows that margin even further.
4 game series vs Rangers @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
|Fri 07/08 - Gio Gonzalez vs. CJ Wilson||5:05 PM PDT|
|Sat 07/09 - Brandon McCarthy vs. Colby Lewis||5:05 PM PDT|
|Sun 07/10 - Trevor Cahill vs. Matt Harrison||12:05 PM PDT|