Apr 18, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez (33) throws the ball against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers @ Oakland Game 22 – Pre-game thoughts

Oakland, Cali – The Texas Rangers have the opportunity to complete their first sweep of the season today against the Oakland Athletics.   Left-handed pitcher Martin Perez will start today.  He’s last outing on Friday was nothing less than spectacular.

Lineups

Rangers: Choice lf, Andrus ss, Rios rf, Fielder 1b, Moreland dh, Murphy 2b, Chirinos c, Martin cf, and Wilson 3b

Athletics: Gentry cf, Lowrie ss, Donaldson 3b, Cespedes lf, Norris c, Callaspo dh, Reddick rf, Punto 2b, and Barton 1b

Starting pitchers

LHP Martin Perez (3-0 1.86) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (3-0 1.80)

11 on the DL, No problem:  Shin-Soo Choo and Kevin Kouzmanoff should be able to avoid the disabled list, but Pedro Figueroa landed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation.   Even though the Rangers are missing their key lead off man, Michael Choice is filling in very nicely.  Last night he had 1 hit, 2 walks and a very timely RBI to give the Rangers the go ahead run.  Surprisingly Choice has been given plenty of at-bats, but it has been because the Rangers are plagued with injuries.

Also, the Rangers will have Josh Wilson at third because Kouzmanoff is experiencing some tightness in his back.  According to reports, Kouzmanoff’s injuries are not serious.   Wilson has played at third in 38 games over his 7 year career.    He’s fielding percentage is the worst at that position.  With Adrian Beltre and Kouzmanoff out, he’s the Rangers best option.  I think he’ll do fine today, if he gets charge with one error, it shouldn’t be the worst thing for the Rangers.

Completely Perez: Martin Perez pitched a complete game shutout on Friday against the Chicago White Sox at home.  He only allowed 3 hits, 1 walk and struck out 8 over 9 innings/109 pitches.  I do think Perez will pitch another great game, but I don’t think he’ll hold the A’s scoreless.  The offense has been hot, and is very patient.  If you don’t think so, go back and watch the game on Monday when Yu Darvish pitched.  For Martin Perez, he’ll have to have his best command today and out think hitters.  If he’s able get through 6, I think he’ll setup the Texas Rangers for a good chance for a win.

It’s not always Sonny in Oakland:  Sonny Gray has been very solid this season for Oakland.   He has an ERA of 1.80 has allowed 9 walks and struck out 23 over 4 games/25.0 innings.   Luckily for the Rangers its a day game today.  Gray has an ERA of 3.51 over 6 starts in day games.   Hopefully the Rangers offense will take advantage of a sunny day and put a little Gray in the sky for Sonny.

Strike first: The Texas Rangers have managed to score first in the first inning in their last 5 of 6 games.  They have managed to do it with a mixture of hits from almost everyone in the lineup.  Even J.P. Arencibia has been able to squeeze in a few RBI over the last 6 games.  If the Rangers stay aggressive at the plate and the base path, they should be able to repeat that.  Also, the Rangers have been very effective with the bunt and several times with 2-strikes.  Some hate the aggressiveness on both ends of the games, but remember, the A’s lead the league with errors.  If they can keep the pressure on, they might force the A’s to commit an error.

To summarize: 

  • Perez needs to be Perez
  • Stay aggressive at the plate and the base path, force the A’s to make plays
  • Strike first
  • Sweep the A’s for first place

Today’s game is at 2:35 pm CT.

 

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Tags: Martin Perez Sonny Gray Texas Rangers

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