Cahill, A's Set To Tackle AL Champs

The Oakland A's will get to tangle with the defending AL champion Texas Rangers for the first time this season at the Oakland Coliseum on Friday. Trevor Cahill gets the nod for the first game of the three-game set.

For all the publicity the rest of the A's rotation gets, and they have the best starters' ERA in the league, Trevor Cahill remains at the top of the heap.

Cahill, who is pitching the series opener against Texas on Friday, was Oakland's Opening Night starter, and he was an All-Star last year. He's also 3-0 to start this season.

That makes the 23-year-old Cahill is 21-8 since the start of last season. He finished last season with a 2.97 ERA, and in five starts in 2011, the right-hander has a 2.30 ERA.

Oakland is particularly happy to have Cahill on the mound to open the Rangers' series because he is 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA in nine career starts against the defending AL champions, who come to the Coliseum in first place.

Some reasons for Cahill's success so far in 2011: He has allowed only eight walks in his five starts, including only one in his last 14 innings, and he has given up 24 hits in 31 1/3 innings, including two home runs.

Cahill also is getting more run support than some of the other Oakland starters, at 4.6 runs per game, but much of that is due to Oakland's victory at Seattle on Saturday.

Cahill's usual catcher, Kurt Suzuki, should be back from paternity leave on Friday night.

A's News and Notes

--C Kurt Suzuki is expected to return Friday from his one day of paternity leave. Suzuki and his wife, Renee, welcomed Malia Grace Suzuki, who weighed 8 pounds and 3 ounces, on Thursday morning. She is the first child for the couple.

--3B Kevin Kouzmanoff committed his sixth error in 23 games on Wednesday, leading to an unearned run against Brian Fuentes that sent the game into extra innings. Kouzmanoff made only three errors during the entire 2009 season with San Diego.

--LHP Brian Fuentes was charged with his second blown save on Wednesday, the result of an unearned run for the Angels on an error by Kouzmanoff. Fuentes has not allowed an earned run in nine of 11 outings this season and he has recorded six saves.

--RHP Grant Balfour has not allowed a run in eight of 10 outings this season, including his last three, lowering his ERA to 3.00. Balfour has been the A's primary set-up man, with Fuentes filling in as Oakland's closer while Andrew Bailey (forearm) is on the disabled list.

--INF Andy LaRoche has not started any of the last nine games despite ample playing time (10 starts) in the first two weeks of the season. However, Kouzmanoff's team-leading sixth error on Wednesday might signal a change to LaRoche for a game or two, however.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- Victories in day games, vs. two losses, for Oakland, which is 5-11 at night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It felt like I was still pitching for the Halos, sort of." -- A's reliever Brian Fuentes, on some of the boos he heard at Angel Stadium during the series there this week.

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