On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2013 season.
The Opponent: With the way the Rangers' and A's schedules set up for August, it seemed very feasible that the Rangers could've entered this series with a five- or six-game lead. Instead, it's one, but it's not really because the Rangers have been bad, it's just the A's have been really, really good as of late, winning a series in Detroit and sweeping a home set against the Tampa Bay Rays. Still, the Rangers made up eight games on Oakland in August, and now in September all that's going to matter is the six games between these teams.
Past 2013 Meetings: The Rangers are 8-5 against the A's this season, including a series victory in Oakland a month ago, the last game of which saw Derek Holland toss eight shutout innings and strike out 10 A's batters.
Pitching Matchups: Monday — Derek Holland (9-6, 3.00 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (7-7, 4.41); Tuesday — Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58) vs. Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94); Wednesday — Yu Darvish (12-6, 2.73) vs. Jarrod Parker (10-6, 3.59).
What's Hot: Like always, Adrian Beltre is still worthy of this spot and could be a pretty strong candidate to earn August AL Player of the Month honors after taking home the July honors. Elvis Andrus, whose back is giving him problems right now at a really bad time, is hitting .421 over his last five games but left Saturday's game with the back injury. Ian Kinsler has heated up again with nine hits in his last 25 at-bats. After a string of rough starts, Matt Garza bounced back with a seven-inning outing, allowing just one run in Saturday's win. That Rangers bullpen is still scorching, and now you can add Neftali Feliz to that mix after he threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings on Sunday in his first big-league action since May 2012.
Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss are tearing the cover off the ball right now as the A's, and Moss has four homers with 11 RBIs over his last seven games. Coco Crisp, who is so key for the A's success, is swinging the bat well, too, hitting .310 over his last seven game. Straily and Colon each gave up just one run in their previous start against Detroit.
What's Not: Mitch Moreland has three home runs in his last 21 at-bats, but other than that he has just two other hits. Leonys Martin is in a rough stretch, hitting just .174 over the last five games.
Grant Balfour, the A's "raging" closer is raging about his own performance lately. He had a blown save and loss in Detroit and gave up a run in Tampa Bay, as well. In fact, over his last four appearances, he's given up six runs (five earned) in 3 2/3. Yoenis Cespedes, who just really hasn't found his 2012 stroke this season, is hitting just .250 over the last week with no homers and just three RBIs.
Familiar Faces: Adam Rosales was designated for assignment by the A's and immediately picked up by the Rangers prior to the Rangers' last trip to Oakland. After that series, when Nelson Cruz got suspended, the Rangers DFA'd Rosales and he was re-claimed by Oakland. A week later, he was DFA'd by the A's and re-claimed by the Rangers. Has to be the oddest couple of week for a big-league player ever. He's now been with the Rangers a few weeks and could be seeing some playing time if Elvis Andrus' back doesn't get healthy quickly.