The Oakland Athletics enter the final stretch of the regular season against Mike Minor and the Texas Rangers tonight. This is their final series at home in Oakland, so they better make the most of it. The Athletics will stay on the west coast, with stops in Anaheim and Seattle to wrap up the season. That last series against the Mariners looks to be a godsend for the Athletics.
With the postseason up for grabs, they’re going to have one of the worst teams in their sights. If they can’t beat the Mariners in at least two of three games, the A’s don’t deserve to go to the Wild Card Game. The Houston Astros are the winners of the AL West, while the Athletics can still get in with a wildcard.
As it stands now, the A’s would be hosting the Wild Card Game in Oakland. The Rays and Indians are tied for the last spot, so it’s a tight race that is going to come down to next weekend. Oakland holds a 2-game advantage for homefield, so it’d have to take a choke job down the stretch for the A’s to blow this.
But considering how close it is at this moment, the postseason is still up for grabs. After the Rays, Indians, and A’s, there isn’t anything to speak of in the AL, though. The next closest team is the Boston Red Sox, who are behind by 9.5-games.
Texas are playing for nothing other than trying to end a five-game losing streak. Mike Fiers struggled badly in his last two outings, but he will be back in Oakland for this one. Fiers has been a much better hurler in his own ballpark.
The A’s will be counting on Fiers to get back track on Friday night. Fiers is coming off some nerve inflammation, but is expected to pitch. He will be up against the steady arm of Mike Minor. Head below for our free Rangers vs. Athletics pick.
Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics Pick:
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Mike Fiers will look to pick up the pieces at home after getting mauled in his two most recent appearances. Fiers went off the rails with 12 earned runs allowed in 2.2 innings on the mound. The last was against the Rangers, but the offense bailed him out with an 8-run outing.
Despite the shaky performance, the A’s still won the contest by a score of 8-6, so bullet dodged in Arlington. In his previous three starts, Fiers has posted an 18.78 ERA and 2.87 WHIP. It’s his worst stretch of the season, but will be back home Friday night. Fiers has been much more productive at home in 2019.
Note that Fiers has posted an ERA of 5.24 and 1.37 WHIP on the road, though at home in Oakland, he’s been a different pitcher with a 3.15 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Despite the rough road trip, Fiers has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 13 of his last 17 games. It might have been good of him to get the bad starts out of the way then. He could possibly get rocked against, but the Oakland Coliseum is likely going to help him out here.
Oakland have done a pretty decent job against Mike Minor. They’ve at least been able to score run against him, with 6 home runs and 18 runs scored in 105 at-bats. I can see Minor having a fine game, but the Athletics as a team, have been abysmal against the Athletics.
The Rangers are 6-20 in their last 26 meetings with the A’s. Playing in Oakland has been just as awful, with a record of 6-21 in their last 27 games at the Coliseum. The A’s are on a five-game winning streak over the Rangers going into Friday.
The heart of the offense, Joey Gallo and Hunter Pence have been out, and the results have shown at the plate. Logan Forsyth will also be out of the lineup tonight as well. In their previous three games, the Rangers have recorded just 4 runs in total. I don’t see the Rangers being too focused tonight. Meanwhile, the Athletics need this win a whole lot more. Expect a successful night at the office for Oakland.