Athletics Start A Pivotal 4-Game Set In Arlington, Texas


The Athletics look to finish their current ten-game road trip in winning fashion as they head to Arlington for four games.  Thus far, the road trip has been daunting as many presumed.  The A’s have lost their first two series’ on the road to both the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees.  They have 2-4 record in their first six games of the road trip.  On the positive side, the A’s salvaged the last game of each series which has allowed them to keep their grasp on the second Wild Card spot in the American League.

August 16, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher

Dan Straily

(67) delivers a pitch during the first inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

As we have been saying for quite some time and continue to keep saying, this upcoming series is the “most important series” of the Athletics season, at least so far.  The A’s have to play seven more games against the Texas Rangers before the season concludes.  Although these games are not played consecutively, I consider these seven games to be the Athletics “Season World Series.”  The reason I say this is because the Rangers are a World Series caliber team, the seven games will decide the A’s postseason fate and they will also set the tone for the Athletics as they head toward a potential playoff birth for the first time in six years.  If they don’t do well in these seven games their season could be over as well.  Yes, I know the winner of the series will not be crowned World Series Champions, but the winner of the series most likely will be crowned as the American League West Division Champions, a title that the Texas Rangers have owned for the past two years.  The Athletics now have a chance to dethrone them.

This 4-game set can allow the Athletics to gain ground on the division leading Texas Rangers and they can do it fast.  Each game will create a two-game swing between both teams, so if the A’s win, they will gain a game on the Rangers and the Rangers will lose a game on the A’s, and vice versa.  The Athletics have played the Rangers very well this year and coming into the series both teams have six wins and six losses against one another.  The Athletics and Rangers will battle it out in the next four games just like they have done all year.

Dan Straily will be the starting pitcher for the Oakland Athletics in the first game of the series.  Straily has been inconsistent since making his Major League Debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on the third of August.  He has pitched at least six innings in three of his five starts, but in the two other starts he only managed to throw four and two-thirds innings.  Straily received two no-decisions in his first two starts, then he went on to receive a win in each of his next two starts, and then he received a loss in his most recent start.  He is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA on the season.

On the hill for he Texas Rangers will left-handed pitcher Derek Holland.  Holland has also be quite inconsistent for most of the season.  He is 11-6 with a 4.42 ERA over twenty-five starts this year.  As of late though, he has been one of the Rangers best starting pitchers.  In his last three starts, Holland is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 22 strikeouts, but that is not all.  He has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last four starts while allowing no more than two earned runs in each of those starts as well.

Upside: The A’s are coming off of a big win against the Yankees and have a chance to climb the standings in the American League West.

DownSide: They have only won two of their past six games.

Probable Starters

Tuesday, Sept. 25th, 5:05 PM

Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.86 ERA) vs Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA)

Wednesday, Sept. 26th, 5:05 PM

Jarrod Parker (11-8, 3.40 ERA) vs Martin Perez (1-2, 3.78 ERA)

Thursday, Sept. 27th, 11:05 AM

Travis Blackley (5-3, 3.48 ERA) vs Matt Harrison (17-10, 3.17 ERA)