W2W4: Rangers vs. A's
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.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.