The Texas Rangers find themselves just one game out of the second wild-card spot in the American League and hope to grab hold of the berth over the weekend as they begin a three-game series against the host Oakland Athletics on Friday. Texas began its 10-game road trip by taking three of four from the Los Angeles Angels, who are just one-half game back in the wild-card race.
Texas registered only five hits in Thursday’s 3-0 triumph at Los Angeles, although two were home runs by Drew Robinson and Mike Napoli. The 25-year-old Robinson, who had not gone deep since July 16, enters Friday with a five-game hitting streak. Oakland returns home after completing a 2-4 road trip with an 8-7 loss at Baltimore on Thursday. Matt Joyce homered in the setback and is one blast shy of reaching 20 for the first time in his career while rookie Boog Powell is riding a five-game hitting streak that has featured a pair of three-hit performances.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), NBCSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Nick Martinez (3-4, 5.38 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Kendall Graveman (3-4, 4.54)
Martinez is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to start in place of Tyson Ross, who was moved to the bullpen. The 27-year-old Martinez made 13 starts and three relief appearances with Texas earlier this season, going 3-4 with a 5.38 ERA. A native of Florida, he allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision against Oakland on May 13 and is 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 career appearances (eight starts) versus the Athletics.
Graveman was a hard-luck loser last time out as he gave up only two runs over six innings in a setback at Houston on Saturday. The 26-year-old native of Alabama has dropped four of his last five road outings, with a no-decision at Texas on May 14 being the lone non-loss. Graveman defeated the Rangers on the road on April 8 to even his career record against them at 2-2 in six starts.
1. Athletics OF Matt Olson has hit safely in five straight games, going 6-for-14 in that span.
2. Texas 3B Adrian Beltre went 5-for-15 with three homers and six RBIs in the four-game set against the Angels.
3. Oakland will be playing its first game without Rajai Davis, who was traded to Boston on Wednesday for fellow OF Rafael Rincones.
PREDICTION: Athletics 5, Rangers 3