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 2012 season.
The Opponent: A 19-18 record isn't really anything to get too excited about, but the A's weren't ticketed for even a .500 record this year so they can feel pretty good about what they've done thus far. The fact that they have been outscored by 10 runs doesn't bode well for staying on the happy side of par, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy it while it lasts.
Past 2012 Meetings: It's the first matchup of the season between the teams, which means that the Rangers have now come into contact with each of their divisional rivals. Since this is just a two-game set, it also means the A's are going to be on the schedule an awful lot the rest of the way.
Pitching Matchups: Tuesday - Tommy Milone (5-2, 3.92 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.84); Wednesday - Brandon McCarthy (3-3, 2.56) vs. Matt Harrison (4-3, 5.23)
What's Hot: Josh Hamilton didn't hit any home runs in the two losses to the Royals, but he did extend his hitting streak to 15 games and became only the fourth player in the last 40 years to lead every Triple Crown category through 35 games. And lest you think this is just hype about how hot Hamilton has been, even McCarthy took to Twitter -- "Siri, how do you get Josh Hamilton out" -- to express his frustration with the prospect of facing Hamilton.
The Rangers will be trying to do something to Ryan Cook that no one else has done yet this season. Cook has pitched 17.2 innings in 16 games to this point and he hasn't allowed a single run over that span. He's also struck out 17 hitters, which is a pretty good rate for a rookie that the A's weren't really counting on as a key bullpen piece.
Two games with the Royals isn't really enough time to pick up on any new trends (outside of one that leads off the next section), so we'll get you familiar with another member of Oakland's roster instead. There wasn't much hype about Josh Reddick's acquisition when he came over from Boston in the Andrew Bailey trade, but his .285 average and nine home runs are both leading the offensively challenged A's this season.
What's Not: Can't anyone here field the ball? The answer was a resounding no in the two games against the Royals, each of which went K.C.'s way because of errors by the Rangers. These things will happen over the course of a season, so it's hardly anything to get worked up about but there probably isn't a more frustrating way to lose a ballgame.
Can't anyone here hit the ball? For the A's, the answer is once again a resounding no. They've scored fewer runs than everyone in the American League other than the Twins and they have the lowest OPS in the league. Oakland was once the home of the Bash Brothers. It feels like even more than 25 years have passed since then.
Because Oakland is so bad offensively, a bad outing by Harrison will be particularly worrisome. He's been better in his last two starts, although he's allowed three home runs in those games to add to a total that's escalating far too rapidly. If the banjo hitters from Oakland tune him up, we may have ourselves a problem.
Familiar Faces: McCarthy has really come a long way since he was with the Rangers and finally wound up making good on some of the hype that accompanied him to Texas from the White Sox. The fact that he's an engaging and funny guy only makes it easier to root for him to keep up the post-injury resurgence he's experienced in Oakland.