W2W4: Rangers vs. A's

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
10:00
AM CT
Texas Rangers (79-57, 1st place/AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (78-58, 2nd place/AL West)

Monday: LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 3.00) vs. RHP Dan Straily (7-7, 4.41), 3:07 p.m.

Tuesday: LHP Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94), 9:07 p.m.

Wednesday: RHP Yu Darvish (12-6, 2.73) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (10-6, 3.59), 2:37 p.m.

Here's what to watch for in this season's final series between Texas and Oakland:


Rangers hold advantage: The Rangers have turned around their struggles against Oakland, going 8-5 against the A's so far this season. The Rangers have won both series at O.co Coliseum, winning two out of three games in May and again in August. The Rangers have a deeper rotation, a more versatile lineup and a slight edge in the bullpen. The memory of last year's three-game sweep by the A's in the final three games of the regular season should be behind them.

Stopping Coco: Crisp is the A's emotional leader and he makes the offense go from the top of the lineup. He put together a sensational run at the end of August, belting six home runs in his last 11 games. He batted .304 for 21 games in the month. Crisp has 16 home runs on the season.

The A's bullpen: Manager Bob Melvin has asked a lot of the A's bullpen and it may be getting to his relievers. Closer Grant Balfour pitched three consecutive days before Sunday, and had his second blown save on Thursday in Detroit. The A's bullpen has an ERA of 4.88 and opponents are batting .275 for the last 21 games. Oakland's bullpen still has a season ERA of 3.26, ranking fifth in the American League.

Battle of the rotations: Get ready for three tight games. Both rotations have been outstanding of late. Oakland's starting pitchers are 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA for their last 18 games. They've allowed one run or fewer in eight of those games. Jarrod Parker, who starts Wednesday against Yu Darvish, was spectacular in August, going 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA for the month. Meanwhile, the Rangers have allowed five runs or less in 29 consecutive games, the longest such single-season streak in club history. It's the sixth longest streak in the majors since 1970.

One-run games: The A's have the most wins in the American League in one-run games with 26 and they have a .605 winning percentage. They have seven walk-off wins. The Rangers are 24-13 in one-run games for a .649 winning percentage, the best in baseball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182