Oakland Athletics (63-38) at Texas Rangers (40-62)
Friday, July 25 - 8:05 PM EST
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
American League West rivals at the opposite ends of the spectrum collide in the Lone Star State on Friday as the major league-leading Oakland Athletics open a three-game series against the cellar-dwelling Texas Rangers. Brandon Moss continued his torrid display at the plate by belting his third grand slam of the season and team-leading 23rd homer in Oakland's 13-1 triumph over Houston on Thursday afternoon. Moss, who has gone deep in four of his last eight games, is 6-for-12 with two homers and seven RBIs versus Friday starter Jerome Williams.
While the Athletics have won 12 of their last 17, the reeling Rangers lost their final three contests of the four-game series to the New York Yankees and a blistering 27 of 32 games. Bright spots are few and far between for tumbling Texas, which saw J.P. Arencibia launch a homer for the second time in three outings. Unfortunately for Arencibia, those blasts were the lone hits in 12 at-bats in that stretch and he is 2-for-13 versus Friday starter Jason Hammel.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), KTXA (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jason Hammel (8-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Jerome Williams (1-4, 6.04)
Hammel dropped his second straight outing since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs and failed to pitch at least five innings for the first time this season. The 31-year-old allowed five runs on six hits in two frames en route to an 8-4 setback to Baltimore on Saturday. Hammel has surrendered eight homers in his last seven outings after permitting five in his previous 12.
Williams is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to start the series opener while fellow right-hander Nick Tepesch will be pushed back to Saturday. Signed to a minor-league contract on July 11, Williams made 26 appearances out of the bullpen for the Astros while going 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts for the Express. The 32-year-old owns a 4-5 career mark with a 4.19 ERA in 16 career appearances (nine starts) against the Athletics.
1. Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes sat out Thursday's game with a strained thumb, but is expected to play against Texas.
2. Rangers manager Ron Washington said that RHP Neftali Feliz will inherit the closer's role in the wake of the team trading Joakim Soria to Detroit.
3. After Texas won the first three outings, the Athletics have claimed five of the last six meetings between the division rivals.
PREDICTION: Athletics 6, Rangers 1