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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, September 13th (All times Eastern)
Oakland Athletics (85-61) at Texas Rangers (81-64), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Dan Straily (9-7, 4.15) Texas - Derek Holland (9-8, 3.17)
(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers seem to be going through another September swoon.
The Rangers will try to reverse their recent fortunes and slice into the Oakland Athletics' American League West lead on Friday, when the division foes begin a crucial three-game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
"Our heart is still in it. We've just got to do what we have to do to make sure we win ball games, that's all," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I'm not concerned. We'll be ready to play with Oakland coming to town."
Texas was 3 1/2 games up on the A's following a win over Chicago back on Aug. 23. However, the Rangers have dropped 11 of 17 since and enter this series 3 1/2 games back of Oakland in the division.
The Rangers, who were swept at home by Pittsburgh earlier this week, have lost eight of nine, but still sit atop the wild card standings. Texas, of course lost nine of its final 13, including a three-game sweep in Oakland to end the regular season, last year and then went on to lose at home to Baltimore in the wild card game.
"It's not hard (to be energized)," Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We still have a goal in front of us. We're not going to sleep until we get it. I think when we start thinking about (a) negative start, you're just looking for a reason not to do the right thing. Right now we're focused on what we need to be focusing on, which is to go out there and perform well and leave everything we have on the field."
Getting the call for the Rangers on Friday will be lefty Derek Holland, who is winless in his last six starts. Holland lost his second straight start on Saturday in Anaheim, as the Angels reached him for eight runs (4 earned) and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings to drop him to 9-8 on the year to go along with a 3.17 ERA.
"Our pitching is going to get going again," Holland said. "Myself, I've had a couple bad starts here and there. I'm going to turn the page."
Holland is 5-3 lifetime versus the A's with a 2.83 ERA in 15 games (11 starts).
Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Dan Straily, who has won his last three starts and is 9-7 with a 4.15 ERA. Straily was terrific against Houston on Saturday, as he scattered two hits and struck out seven over seven scoreless innings.
In five starts versus the Rangers Straily is 2-1 with a 4.23 ERA.
Oakland secured a series win in Minnesota on Thursday with an 8-2 win. The A's captured the final two games of the series, outscoring the Twins, 26-5. They have won five of six overall, but are just 7-9 this season against the Rangers.
"It's the last time we play them," said A's skipper Bob Melvin. "I think at this point in time in the season, any time we play them, there's probably a little bit more of a spotlight on the series. And that's probably the case when we go in there tomorrow."
09/13 10:40:35 ET