The Texas Rangers will travel to the Overstock.com Coliseum in Oakland, California on Tuesday evening as they prepare for the opening game of their American League West series clash versus the Oakland Athletics.
Oakland is fresh off of a disappointing weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays, who swept the Athletics at home to drop them below the .500-mark on the season. The Athletics come into this series in fourth place in the AL West standings with a 12-13 overall record, while the Rangers are in third place after winning 12 of their first 21 games of the season. Can Texas keep their momentum going with a road win versus the struggling A’s on Tuesday?
Lynn regaining confidence as member of Rangers
The Rangers are scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Lance Lynn, who is the latest reclamation project to join Texas’ starting staff. Lynn made a name for himself with the St. Louis Cardinals, going 71-46 and making 159 starts for them over a five-year span between 2012 and 2017. However, he’s on his third team since leaving the Cardinals prior to the 2018 season and he’s still trying to regain the form that made him one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League.
Nomar Mazara hits ball. Ball goes far. #TogetherWe
— SportsDay Rangers (@dmn_rangers) April 4, 2019
Lynn posted a solid 3-2 record and a 4.14 ERA in nine starts after being traded to the New York Yankees last season and he seems to have picked up where he left off, going 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA in four starts this year for the Rangers. After an ugly debut in which he gave up seven runs in 5 ⅔ innings of work, Lynn has bounced back with three solid starts in a row. The Rangers’ right-hander has allowed only five earned runs over his last three outings, while pitching into the sixth inning or later in each of those starts and he’s won each of his last two. The Rangers’ right-hander has never faced the A’s in his MLB career.
According to Baseball Savant, the current A’s roster is batting .243 in 41 plate appearances off of Lynn. He’s struck them out 22 percent of the time and owns a 5.40 FIP against them, but StatCast data still pegs the A’s roster for an expecting batting average of .298 and an expected slugging percentage of .655 off of Lynn heading into Tuesday’s matchup.
Montas earning permanent spot in A’s rotation
Oakland is slated to counter with right-hander Frankie Montas, who appears to have taken a step forward in his development since last season. The 26-year-old burst onto the scene last season with the A’s, going 5-4 with a respectable 3.88 ERA in 13 appearances (11 starts). Montas flashed his potential during Spring Training, while showing off a new pitch to complement his 97-mph fastball and devastating slider. He added a splitter in the Spring, which helped him go 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in five games with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings of work and he parlayed the pitch into a permanent spot in the A’s starting rotation.
A salute to Oakland.
Khris Davis, Bob Melvin, and Billy Beane discuss KD's contract extension. Cheer on the Major League leader in home runs with 2-for-1 tickets this weekend. https://t.co/se7xyQFUn7 pic.twitter.com/nlqHSceDWM
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 18, 2019
Montas has been excellent on the mound for Oakland through four regular-season starts this season as well. Allowing just seven earned runs and striking out 20 batters in 23 ⅓ innings. He comes in with a 3-1 record and a 2.70 ERA after tossing back-to-back quality starts, and he is fresh off of arguably his best outing of the season, limiting the Houston Astros to just one earned run on three hits over 6 ⅓ frames. He allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings of work in a no-decision during his only start versus the Rangers last season.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Rangers’ roster is batting .263 in 23 plate appearances off of Montas. He has struck them out 21.7 percent of the time and ports a 2.96 FIP versus the Rangers’ current lineup and StatCast data predicts an expected batting average of .253 and an expected slugging percentage of .380 for them heading into Tuesday’s start.
- Rangers are 4-0 in their last 4 when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Rangers are 5-1 in their last 6 after allowing 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Rangers are 6-2 in their last 8 vs. American League West.
- Athletics are 2-5 in their last 7 overall.
- Athletics are 0-5 in their last 5 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Athletics are 0-5 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter