Willie Eyre faced massive struggles on Saturday
Fresh off a sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rangers return home with hopes of doing some damage to an American League West foe. Here's a look at this week's three game series with the Oakland Athletics.
A’s (53-59) vs. Rangers (48-63)
Monday, 7:35 PM: Dallas Braden (1-6, 5.28) vs. John Rheinecker (1-0, 5.74)
Rheinecker, the one time Oakland Athletics farmhand, will be looking for some better results on Monday night. After one of his best starts in his major league career on July 24th, Rheinecker came out and struggled mightily against the Indians last week, allowing six runs on eight hits over just 4 1/3 innings of work. So far this year, lefties are batting a measly .167 off of him while right-handed batters own a robust .370 batting average. Rheinecker has pitched just one inning of scoreless relief in his career against his former team.
Dallas Braden remains in search of his first victory since his first start of the season way back on April 24th. He made four starts from the rotation, then went to the Oakland bullpen for a month before returning to the rotation for a July 16th start against the Rangers. In that game, Braden allowed four runs over six innings and took the loss. The Texas Tech grad has struggled in his last two starts, allowing nine runs over a combined 9 1/3 innings of ball. Much like his counterpart Rheinecker, Braden has held lefties to a .154 average this season, but right-handed hitters are batting .309 off the southpaw.
Tuesday, 7:35 PM: Chad Gaudin (8-7, 3.88) vs. Kason Gabbard (4-1, 3.86)
Kason Gabbard will be making his first home start of the year against a team that sent him to a 9-0 defeat on Aug. 28th of last season. The Indians sent him to defeat in his Rangers debut last week, but Gabbard showed some definite signs of effectiveness. Although he uncorked three wild pitches, lefty kept the ball on the ground and collected 12 groundball outs as opposed to just one fly-out.
Five starts ago, A’s pitcher Chad Gaudin owned an ERA in the two’s. But after four poor outings in his last five starts, he’s now very close to going above four runs a game for the first time this season. Much of that blame goes to the Angels, who faced him twice over the last few weeks. With Vlad Guerrero leading the offensive charge, the Louisiana native has allowed 10 earned runs over his last 9 2/3 innings against Anaheim. Gaudin allowed five runs over six innings and was the loser against the Rangers on July 17th.
Wednesday, 7:35 PM: Lenny DiNardo (5-6, 3.19) vs. Kevin Millwood (7-9, 5.98)
Kevin Millwood stated he was battling flu-like symptoms in the days leading up to his most recent start against Toronto. As it turned out, the results of that contest were pretty sickening in itself, with Millwood allowing eight hits exiting after throwing 96 pitches through just four innings. He’s now winless in his last five starts and is ridiculously close to having his ERA go over 6.00. Lefties and righties are both batting over .300 against the veteran, making it a risky situation whenever he’s on the hill. But there is good news: Millwood owns a 3-2 record and a respectable 3.48 ERA in seven career starts against the A’s.
Lenny DiNardo has been quite a valuable asset for the A’s this season, but he could be in the process of slowly returning to earth. He recent six inning effort against the Angels is coming off his worst start of the year, when he allowed seven runs on seven hits over just three innings against Seattle. Overall, he’s now failed to reach at least the seventh inning in all but two of his starts this season: He did it against the Mariners on July 7th, and your Texas Rangers on July 18th. He was absolutely absurd that day, allowing just 3 hits and no runs in a dominating seven innings of work.