Oakland completes its season series with the host Texas Rangers to wrap up a three-day, four-game set on Sunday afternoon, but the Athletics hope to see Globe Life Field again next month.
The first-place A’s (29-16) have moved closer to the American League West title with two wins in the first three games of the series, making them 4-2 this season at the Rangers’ new home.
Reportedly, Globe Life Field is being considered as a possible “bubble” host in the AL playoffs, which the A’s will reach by finishing either first or second in the West.
The Rangers (16-30), meanwhile, sit in last place in the West, with only a slim chance of advancing.
If the A’s are going to win Sunday, they’re going to have to do it against Rangers ace Lance Lynn (5-2, 2.52 ERA).
The right-hander beat Oakland in its last visit to Globe Life in August, allowing two runs in six innings in a 3-2 win.
He was even better in a no-decision in Oakland on Aug. 4, limiting the A’s to one run in 6 1/3 innings in an eventual 5-1 loss.
The 33-year-old has struck out 15 in those 12 1/3 innings.
He’s 3-1 with a 4.36 ERA in six lifetime starts against Oakland.
The Rangers were able to celebrate a bit in their doubleheader split with the A’s on Saturday when left-hander Wes Benjamin recorded his first career win in a 5-2 victory in the opener.
A career-long starter, Benjamin won in relief. In fact, all five of his appearances for the Rangers this season have been out of the bullpen.
“It’s definitely a new experience for me,” he noted recently. “I think that, obviously, when you get on the mound, it’s the same thing whether you’re starting or relieving. A lot of it has to do with being able to land off-speed for strikes earlier in counts than maybe you normally would.”
The A’s countered Benjamin’s win with a six-inning, one-run performance by right-hander Chris Bassitt in a 10-1 romp in the nightcap.
Right-hander Frankie Montas (3-3, 5.73) will attempt to follow in Bassitt’s shoes Sunday.
The 27-year-old hasn’t faced the Rangers this season. He’s never been beaten by them in his career, going 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in six games, half of which have been starts.
The A’s exploded for seven runs in the second inning of Saturday’s nightcap after a demoralizing morning that not only included the low-output loss to the Rangers but also news that star third baseman Matt Chapman would be lost for the season following surgery on his hip.
Manager Bob Melvin attempted to get his team’s focus back on baseball in between Saturday’s games. Obviously, it worked.
“Plays about as hard as anybody in the game. Unfortunately, he won’t be with us,” Melvin announced to the media. “This one stings some, but we have to rally around it, and play with his spirit. We know he’s pulling hard for us. You just have to get through it.”
–Field Level Media