Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics Series Preview

Craig ChapmanCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2011

Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics Series Preview

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    It's time for another American League West showdown as the first place Texas Rangers travel to Oakland to battle the third place Athletics. Both teams look to rebound from recent mistakes as both teams have gone 5-5 in their last ten games.

    For the Rangers, these games have been getting more important as the season goes along. Los Angeles has been slowly creeping up the AL West standings and one bad series could mean the difference between a spot in the playoffs and a spot on the couch in October.

    Here's a look at the next three days. Read on for more.

August 12th @ 9 PM CST

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    Rangers - CJ Wilson

    CJ is coming off a no decision against Cleveland and has had little success against the A's this season. His record against Oakland is 1-2 and he's pitched a total of 21 innings while giving up 12 runs on 16 hits. His overall record is 10-5, and he's pitching with an earned run average above three, so Texas fans shouldn't be worried about the southpaw.

    Or should they? CJ recently went on the record that he hates pitching in Oakland. In a recent interview posted on the ballclub's website, he went on to say this:

    "I hate pitching there," Wilson said. "The mound [stinks]. The fans [stink]. There are no fans there. It's too bad, because the fans that are there are really adamant and stoked on the team. They play drums and they wave flags, and it's cool. But some games you go there and there are, like, 6,000 people there. It's kind of sad"

    He also went on to reassure Ranger fans that Oakland isn't a threat in free agency and that "there is no chance he would sign with Oakland, largely due to its fan base." Harsh words coming from a pitcher who is known to run his mouth. It will be interesting to see how fans react to him on Friday.

    Athletics - Brandon McCarthy

    This former Ranger is having a career year as almost every single one of his main statistics is his best yet since debuting with the White Sox in 2005. His record is 5-5 but has pitched very well in his 16 starts, posting a home run per nine innings ratio that is one-third of his previous low and earning a fielding independent earned run average of 2.69.

    He's given up nine runs in 12 innings against Texas but failed to earn a decision in both games.

August 13th @ 3 PM CST

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    Rangers - Colby Lewis

    Colby has had a rough season compared to his breakout season of 2010. He's gone 10-8 and has an ERA that is about to go over five. However, he's had a nice season against Oakland.

    He's pitched a 2-1 record against the A's by accumulating eight runs on 16 hits over 21.1 innings. He hasn't won a game since late July so he will be looking to rebound against a tiring Oakland team.

    Athletics - Trevor Cahill

    Trevor has had an upside down season, and expectations of him in the offseason have been shattered this year. He ended 2010 with an 18-8 record and is currently posting a 9-10 record this season. He received great defensive help last season but his FIP ERA is still the same as last year.

    But make no mistake, he's dominated the Rangers this season. In three games, he's gone 2-1 while giving up three runs and 17 hits over 21.2 innings. Expect Cahill to bring his A game Saturday, no pun intended.

August 14th @ 3 PM CST

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    Rangers - Matt Harrison

    Matt was the last member of the Rangers rotation to get to 10 total wins but has been having a great year. His ERA is at 3.06, two points down from his career low. His strikeouts and walks per nine innings has remained steady but Harrison has been great with the home run ball. He's pitched twice against Oakland, including a 1.2 inning start which was one the of worst of his career.

    But he rebounded against the A's in his last start going seven innings and giving up zero runs on six hits.

    Athletics - Rich Harden

    This former Ranger was recently on the trading block to Boston, but the trade fell through after Harden failed their physical. He had terrible control last season but has regained some of it with the team he made his debut with in 2003.

    His only start against Texas this year was a five inning outing, giving up five runs on eight hits. If the Rangers can get to him early, this game should be an easy win for Ron Washington's crew.