Texas Rangers (57-92) at Oakland Athletics (83-66)
Tuesday, September 16 - 10:05 PM EST
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
A 2 1/2-week tailspin derailed the division title hopes for the Oakland Athletics, who try to protect their hold of the first American League wild card spot when they host the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. The schedule sets up nicely for Oakland, which plays the next six against last-place clubs in Texas and Philadelphia before closing the nine-game homestand against AL West-leading Los Angeles. The Athletics are looking to win three straight for the first time since Aug. 7-9.
Oakland has won seven of its last nine against the Rangers but is not about to overlook any team following a slide that saw them drop 12 of 15. "We take nothing for granted," Athletics manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "The White Sox weren't playing great, and we ended up losing three out of four, so a major-league team is a major-league team, and we have to play our best to beat them." Texas is coming off a three-game sweep of Atlanta and seeks its first four-game win streak since taking five in a row from April 15-19.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Southwest (Texas), CSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Nick Tepesch (4-10, 4.47 ERA) vs. Athletics LH Scott Kazmir (14-8, 3.32)
Tepesch is coming off another rough outing in which he lasted only 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits to drop to 0-3 over his last six starts. Tepesch has not received much help from an offense that has failed to produce more than three runs in each of his last eight starts and 17 total in that span. He has lost both his starts to the Athletics this season, permitting seven runs and 13 hits in 11 innings.
Kazmir is 0-3 over the past four starts, but his latest setback was a gem - limiting the Chicago White Sox to one run on four hits over eight innings in a 1-0 defeat. The Texas native is 8-4 with a 3.24 ERA lifetime against the Rangers and has won both starts against them this season, although he pitched only five innings in each. Adam Rosales has had Kazmir's number, collecting six hits and a homer in 11 at-bats against him.
1. Athletics closer LHP Sean Doolittle has struck out three in two hitless innings since returning from the 15-day disabled list.
2. Rangers 2B Luis Sardinas is 5-for-11 with two doubles and four RBIs in his last three contests.
3. Athletics RF Josh Reddick is 1-for-17 over his last five games.
PREDICTION: Athletics 5, Rangers 3