The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics wrap up their four-game weekend series with a Sunday afternoon contest. The Rangers won the first two games of the series before Oakland broke through with a 5-4 win on Saturday night.
Long Road Ahead
The Rangers are currently in fourth place in the AL West, 13.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros. They will be on the road taking on the A’s, and they currently have a 22-31 away record. The Rangers’ only chance at playing in October this year would be to fight their way into a Wild Card spot, which they are currently 5.5 games behind.
Texas is batting .250 this season with 150 home runs. Their pitching has been up and down, as their ERA currently sits at 4.98 as a team. They will have to be creative with their pitching moving forward with Edinson Volquez, Yohnader Mendez, and Luke Farrel all on the 60-day IL. They also have centerfielder Joey Gallo, who currently leads the team with 22 home runs, on the 10-day IL.
Leading the team with his .285 batting average is shortstop Elvis Andrus. Andrus sat out of their game Friday after going 0-8 over his last two outings, but he came back with a 2-for-4 performance Saturday. The Rangers’ 25-year-old second baseman Rougned Odor is only batting .204 this year but does lead the team with 58 runs batted in.
Pushing For More
The Athletics are currently in second place in the AL West, as they are putting together a decent season and still pushing for the top spot in the division. The Astros are facing a tough Cardinals team right now, which gives Oakland an opportunity to make up some ground in this series.
Mike Fiers will be getting the start for Oakland in this matchup. Fiers is 9-3 so far this season. He did not factor into the decision in his last outing, where the Athletics took down the Astros 4-3 in extra innings. The 34-year-old veteran is carrying a 3.57 ERA with 81 strikeouts. He also leads the team in both wins and ERA.
Third baseman Matt Chapman is leading the team with both 22 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Centerfielder Ramon Laureano’s .282 batting average is also a team-best. Oakland is batting just .246 as a team with 164 home runs this season. They are 32-22 at home this season, which gives them a good chance to gain some ground on the Astros during this series.
What To Expect
The Athletics have been as good at home while the Rangers have been bad on the road. They definitely have the advantage in that aspect, as well as having one of their best pitchers on the bump for this matchup. Look for Oakland to be in control from start to finish and get a win against a hotter Rangers team in a close, low-scoring game.