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Six Out of Seven Series Lost

May 9, 2011

The Texas Rangers have lost six of their last seven series including a series to the Oakland A’s at Coliseum where they dropped three of four. The A’s now head to Arlington to face the reeling Rangers for three games and both teams begin this set tied with identical 18-17 records that put them both two games behind the AL West leading Angels. The Rangers have been bitten by the injury bug, with the list of injured Rangers being sizable including: Julio Borbon and  Alexi Ogando both of whom are listed as day-to-day, and a clogged 15-day DL that is home to Nelson Cruz, Scott Feldman, Josh Hamilton and Tommy Hunter. On the 60-day DL you’ll find Darren O’Day a mainstay of their bullpen last year. There aren’t enough band-aids to go around the Rangers clubhouse and the time for the A’s to take advantage is now.

This team can still hit, with a .339 team wOBA that is second in the American League along with an also second in the AL 113 wRC+ (tied with the Indians and Royals). But the Royals really are very similar thus far this year offensively, and the A’s had no problem taking two out of three at Kauffman Stadium, and of course the A’s already have played the Rangers winning three-of-four at the Coliseum. Where Texas struggles is on the pitching mound, where their 4.07 ERA is good for 8th in the AL, their 4.56 FIP is 12th in the AL more indicative of their true pitching struggles. Their bullpen has been particularly ugly sporting a second-worst 5.30 FIP while also ranking 13th in HR/9 (1.5) and 12th in K/BB (1.53) and all that despite a relatively fortunate .254 BABIP.

The key for the A’s in this series is to take advantage of Texas’ weak pitching and neutralize their strong offense. These two teams could not be more different with the A’s pitching the daylights out of everyone with a wet noodle offense. The pitching matchups for the series look to be decent ones with Trevor Cahill squaring off against C.J. Wilson tonight followed by Brett Anderson vs. Colby Lewis Tuesday and Gio Gonzalez taking on Matt Harrison on the getaway day. Big series for both clubs, promises to be an interesting first half of the week.

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