Series Preview: Rangers/A's

A solo blast in extra innings off the bat of Mark Teixiera salvaged the last of three games in Anaheim and kept the Rangers from being swept away. Now it's up the coast to Oakland where the Rangers will meet a slumping A's team that has lost seven straight. Lone Star Dugout is here with your look at this three game series.

Texas (39-52) at Oakland (44-48)

Monday, 9:05 PM: Jamey Wright (2-2, 5.55) vs. Dallas Braden (1-3, 6.08)

Jamey Wright's gotten a little better each time he's taken the hill, and his efforts culminated into his first quality start of the year a couple of weeks ago in a 4th of July victory over the Angels. Unfortunately for the 32-year old Oklahoma native, that's about where the accolades end. Career wise, following the All-Star Break, Wright is 34-53 with a 5.02 ERA. Lifetime against the Athletics, Wright's earned run average balloons to a robust 10.50 in two starts.

Thank to the recent injury to Rich Harden, rookie Dallas Braden will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make Monday's start for the A's. Braden, who's spent a little time each of the past three months with Oakland, had his best stuff in his first appearance back on April 24th when he picked up the win with six innings of one run, three hit ball against Baltimore.

Tuesday, 9:05 PM: Robinson Tejeda (5-8, 6.70) vs. Chad Gaudin (8-4, 3.18)
Robinson Tejeda was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma the Saturday before the All-Star Break, but the move was done out of the need for bullpen help and didn't have anything to do with his struggles that have now dragged on for nearly two months. Back on May 18th against the Astros, Tejeda lasted only five innings and walked six Houston batters but was able to limit the damage and allowed just a couple of hits en route to his fourth victory of the season. In nine starts since that date, the righty has just one win, and has lasted longer than six innings only once. He's allowing just over five runs a game, but with the way he's been throwing, Tejeda's 29:32, K:BB ratio is quite simply a recipe for disaster.

And speaking of that ratio, Chad Gaudin's has progressively gotten worse over the last couple of months. He was all over the road in his last start against the Twins, throwing only 52 of his 97 pitches for strikes while walking five batters. But overall, with wins in eight of his past ten decisions, Gaudin's first half was an exceptionally strong one for the A's. Without question, his highest point of the season came on the final day of June when the right-hander marched into the Bronx and one-hit the Yankees over seven innings of work for the win.

Wednesday, 9:05 PM: Kevin Millwood (6-7, 5.77) vs. Lenny DiNardo (3-6, 2.78)
It was a no-decision, but last week may have featured Kevin Millwood's finest effort of the season. He went seven innings against the Angels, allowing a run on five and amassing seven strikeouts. The occasion marked only the second time all season Millwood has pitched more than six innings, and it just so happens both of which have come against the Angels in the last 10 days. It's his first start against the A's this season, but he's 3-1 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts against them in his career.

Lenny DiNardo really hasn't been much of a model of consistency for the Oakland Athletics. He was decent in his last start against the Twins, but was severely out pitched by the great Johan Santana and was dealt the loss. Injuries to starting pitchers have forced the A's to give the spot starter DiNardo more of an extended stay in the rotation, but he's yet to throw more than six innings in any one of his starts. Against the Rangers back on May 29th, the lefty took the loss in his first start of the season after allowing four runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

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