The Oakland Athletics have run roughshod over their opponents with wins in 16 of their last 21 contests overall, in addition to seven straight against the Texas Rangers. The Athletics aim to improve upon both marks on Friday as the American League West rivals play the second contest of their four-game series in Arlington, Texas.
Rookie Matt Chapman homered among his two hits in Thursday’s 4-1 victory to improve to 11-for-24 with six RBIs and as many runs scored versus the Rangers this season. Ryon Healy continued his September to remember with a go-ahead two-run single to highlight his two-hit performance, upping his batting average to .313 this month. While Oakland has aspirations of avoiding yet another last-place finish in the AL West, Texas is looking to put an end of a season-high seven-game skid in which it has been outscored 49-9 in the last five. Willie Calhoun crossed the plate for his team’s lone run on Thursday and has three hits and two runs scored in his last two games after going 0-for-12 in his previous seven.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Oakland), FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Raul Alcantara (1-1, 6.86 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Martin Perez (12-12, 4.83)
Alcantara turned in his second straight strong start on Saturday as the 24-year-old Dominican scattered two hits over five scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory versus Texas. “The command of the fastball is better,” manager Bob Melvin said of Alcantara. “It looks to me like his split and slider are better, and he’s pitching with a lot more confidence. It’s good to see.” Alcantara is making his third straight spot start, this time as a fill-in for fellow right-hander Jharel Cotton, who has been shut down after dealing with right elbow soreness.
Perez has answered seven straight wins with an 0-2 mark and 4.96 ERA in his last three starts, including a five-run effort in an 8-1 loss to Oakland on Sunday. “I think control was a little bit off,” Rangers acting manager Steve Buechele said following the 26-year-old Venezuelan’s performance. “Four walks. He got some ground balls that snuck their way through, but I think overall today was just one those where he was just a little bit out of rhythm and didn’t have the command and crispness he’s had in his last few starts.” Perez owns a 1-2 mark with a 5.93 ERA in three starts this season versus the Athletics.
1. Oakland LF Khris Davis had two hits in the series opener and 13 overall against Texas this season.
2. Rangers 3B Joey Gallo is 3-for-27 with 18 strikeouts in his last nine contests.
3. Oakland SS Marcus Semien is 0-for-7 on the heels of an eight-game hitting streak
PREDICTION: Athletics 5, Rangers 2