Athletics-Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers have failed to take advantage of the AL West's bottom two teams as the division's best sputters in Anaheim.

The last-place Oakland Athletics have had Texas' number all season and will try to further damage its division chances in Sunday's series finale in Arlington.

The Rangers (74-67) have dropped 10 of 15 against Oakland this season, losing three of the first four series and splitting the other. Saturday night's 5-3 defeat was Texas' third loss in four days to the A's and Seattle, the division's bottom two teams.

Meanwhile, AL West-leading Houston dropped the first two games of a series against the Los Angeles Angels, tightening the division race. The Astros maintain a 1 1/2-game lead over Texas while their advantage over the Angels is down to 3 1/2.

The Rangers host Houston for a critical four-game series this week.

Rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock and will make his 10th start for the Rangers Sunday.

Gonzalez (2-5, 4.25 ERA) opened his career with wins in consecutive scoreless outings in late-May and early-June, but he is winless in seven starts since, while spending most of July and August in the minors. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.80 ERA over his last seven outings with the Rangers, and he will make his first start since Aug. 18.

Oakland is responsible for two of Gonzalez's losses, beating him 7-0 on June 11 and 8-6 on June 23. Gonzalez allowed just one run in seven innings in the first game, but surrendered six in 5 2-3 the second time around.

Though Texas is chasing the postseason, Gonzalez has already pitched a playoff game this year, tossing two perfect innings Wednesday in the Pacific Coast League semifinals during his rehab stint.

"I was fortunate enough to continue in the playoffs and play in September over there," Gonzalez told MLB's official website. "...and now I'm playing here, so hopefully I get to the October thing."

The A's (61-81) won for just the third time in 10 games Saturday and won't play past the first weekend in October this year. They'll try to win consecutive series for the first time since June when they send Felix Doubront to the mound.

Doubront (3-1, 4.22) has plugged a hole for an injury-depleted Oakland staff after his acquisition from Toronto at the trade deadline. He was inserted into the rotation after two long relief outings and has a 3.60 ERA in four starts.

Oakland won each of those games, and Doubront picked up wins in the last two despite surrendering four runs in each. The A's offense picked him up in an 11-5 victory over the Angels on Aug. 31 and a 10-9 win over Houston on Monday.

Doubront has never seen success against the Rangers, losing all four of his starts with a 10.69 ERA. Texas, though, has struggled against lefties this year, the latest example Saturday's loss to Oakland southpaw Sean Nolin in which Texas mustered five hits and a run off him in 5 2-3 innings.

"They've been a challenge for us for most of the year," Texas manager Jeff Banister told MLB's official website. "To get to where we want to go, we've got to be able to compete against left-handers, we've got to be able to swing the bat against left-handers, we've got to be able to drive in runs against left-handers."

Promoted Stories

More MLB