Previewing the Texas Rangers' seventh series of the season: Oakland Athletics
By West Jones
The Texas Rangers (12 - 6) are coming off a 5 - 1 road trip which saw them take two of three from the Astros before sweeping the struggling Royals. The schedule lends itself for potentially more Ranger wins this weekend as the team prepares to host the woeful Oakland Athletics.
Date and Time
Rangers Probable Pitcher
A's Probable Pitcher
Fri 21st - 7:05 CT
Jon Gray - RHP 1-1, 3.21 ERA, 13 SO
JP Sears - LHP 0-1, 4.60 ERA, 12 SO
Sat 22nd - 6:05 CT
Andrew Heaney - LHP 1-1, 4.97 ERA, 16 SO
Shintaro Fujinami - RHP 0-3, 11.37 ERA, 10 SO
Sun 23rd - 1:35 CT
Jacob deGrom - RHP 1-0, 3.48 ERA, 32 SO
Kyle Muller - LHP 0-1, 7.23 ERA, 14 SO
Texas Rangers will look to continue hot start against struggling Oakland Athletics
Oakland is making headlines this year, but not for positive reasons. The A's have the worst record in baseball at 3 - 16 and have lost seven in a row. And they aren't just losing close games. In their first 19 games, Oakland has a run differential of -86. They have scored 65 runs, but the A's pitchers and defense have allowed their opponents to score a whopping 151 runs. With the way that the Rangers have been swinging the bats, on paper, this is quite the mismatch. But the game is not played on paper. The Rangers will have to go out and win this weekend by playing fundamentally solid baseball.
It has been no secret that Athletics' owner John Fisher has long wanted to relocate the team, and it appears that his dream will become a reality sooner rather than later. Thursday's report of a real estate contract for land near the strip in Las Vegas has the faithful Oakland fans down. The details of the plan is that the Athletics will be building a roughly $1.5 billion, 35,000-seat stadium. The construction is supposed to start sometime next year, with the Athletics to make it their home starting in 2027. This was a move that caught nobody off guard, but for a storied franchise to leave a fan base and a community, it is a sad day.
The Rangers are glad to be able to keep rolling with their full rotation intact despite some scares over the last week. Jon Gray is scheudled to make his regular start on Friday. Gray had to leave his last start early as he was hit in his right throwing elbow by a 109-mph line drive off the bat of Houston's Yainer Diaz. Remarkably, there were no broken bones or issues, other than a little swelling and soreness.
The much talked about wrist-soreness of Jacob deGrom that caused him to come out of his last start after only four, no-hit innings seems to be fine now. He is officially not on the probable starters page at this point, but there has been nothing but positive news from deGrom himself along with manager Bruce Bochy. Caution is best with just about any MLB pitcher these days, and deGrom is no exception. If he does make his scheduled start on Sunday afternoon, there will be a collective sigh heard throughout Rangers Nation.
Friday and Saturday will be the first two opportunities for Ranger's fans to check out the new City Connect jerseys on the field. Many, including myself, have some reservations about the look (my only issue lies with the dark pants), but it will be interesting how they look on the field. As I have told a few people, I don't really care what we are wearing, as long as we are winning. The stories behind the look are solid and the best thing to come out of the uniforms is the Fort Worth panther, Dallas eagle combo that many are calling a "Peagle". My Peagle hoodie and new City Connect cap will be here early next week!
After this weekend's series at home against Oakland, the Rangers will travel up to Cincinnati to take on the Reds for a three-game slate. Texas will not have any off days next week as they will be coming straight back home to host a four-game series against the New York Yankees starting on Thursday. Winning another series this weekend against the A's is the obvious goal. Bochy will be sure to have the club ready and not looking past the game in front of them.