The Texas Rangers will look to build on one of their biggest wins of the year and pull closer to the Oakland Athletics when the two teams play the second of a four-game American League West series on Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers captured the opener of the series on Monday when Isiah Kiner-Falefa had the go-ahead home run in the second inning and ace right-hander Lance Lynn and two relievers made that hit the decisive one in a 3-2 win.
The Rangers snapped a season-high eight-game losing streak with victory, their first in four games against Oakland this season.
Oakland, which leads the AL West, loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before Rangers closer Rafael Montero struck out Matt Olson and retired Matt Chapman on a lazy flyball.
The Athletics, who came into the game with the best record in the American League, have lost two of their past three games. Oakland is now 6-4 in games decided by one run this season.
Oakland has played 10 series this season and won seven of them. The Athletics will have to sweep the final three games of this set to improve on that statistic.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start, and now it’s about the second half of the season, which we’ve talked about since Day One,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s a serious sprint to the end. We’ve put ourselves in good position, but we still have a lot more work to do.”
The Rangers called up Leody Taveras, the No. 3 prospect in their farm system, on Monday and immediately inserted him into their starting lineup in center field and into the leadoff spot.
Taveras is an excellent defensive player — and Texas has given away too many outs this season with shoddy fielding — but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said before Monday’s game that Taveras was not brought up to be a defensive replacement.
The Rangers, who may be sellers by next week’s trade deadline as they fall further off the pace in the AL West, want to take a hard look at the 21-year-old outfielder. Taveras had a single and a walk in four plate appearances in his major league debut.
“Playing (Taveras) up here is going to improve our defense,” Daniels said. “That is one of several areas that we need to address, so there’s some short-term benefit. (The callup) also uses the opportunity to get him some needed development time and provide us with some more information to make decisions this winter.”
Oakland will send left-hander Sean Manaea to the mound on Tuesday. Manaea (1-2, 6.39 ERA), who is 6-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 career starts against Texas, struggled early in the season but has been better in his past two outings, producing a second consecutive quality start on Aug. 20 by limiting the Diamondbacks to one run over 5 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-2, 4.73 ERA) counters for the Rangers. Gibson put together his most impressive showing of 2020 on Aug. 5 against the Athletics, when he allowed three runs in six innings while striking out a season-best nine batters. He is 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA in his past three starts, and he’s 3-2 for his career against the A’s with a 3.92 ERA in seven starts.
–Field Level Media