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W2W4: Rangers at Athletics

The Rangers begin their final road trip of the season with a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the A’s? Oakland is battling to stay alive in the AL wild-card race. The Athletics have gone 32-36 after going 51-30 to start the season. They begin a nine-game homestand this week and need almost every game to keep pace. Josh Donaldson is the team leader in home runs (27), RBIs (95) and hits (142). Brandon Moss is second in hits (113) and RBIs (79). Tuesday’s starter Scott Kazmir has an 8.20 ERA in his last four starts. Oakland has won four of the last five meetings against the Rangers.

What’s up with the Rangers? They’re hot. The Rangers have won three in a row for the first time since June. Leonys Martin has 37 multi-hit games, third on the team behind Adrian Beltre (49) and Alex Rios (38). Martin is hitting .337 in the leadoff spot and hit .385 on the just completed homestand. Beltre leads the Rangers in HRs (18) and RBIs (71). Elvis Andrus has 151 hits and a career-high 33 doubles this season.

Rangers’ injury report: OF Michael Choice had an MRI on his strained left hamstring and is doubtful for the road trip. Jake Smolinski (foot) should return after not playing since July 21. Jim Adduci (concussion) and Scott Baker (elbow) are questionable. Robinson Chirinos has played well in his return from a stiff neck. He’s reached base in five of nine plate appearances.

Pitching matchups: Tuesday: RHP Nick Tepesch (4-10, 4.47) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (14-8, 3.32); Wednesday: LHP Derek Holland (1-0, 0.86) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-5, 3.41); Thursday: RHP Nick Martinez (3-11, 4.93) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (13-8, 3.18).