The Texas Rangers try to complete a sweep of their brief two-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. Texas, which owns a 5 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West, has regained its form, winning five of its last six contests after dropping five in a row. The Rangers improved to 6-5 against the Athletics this season with Tuesday’s 6-1 triumph.
Josh Hamilton pulled even with Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox for the major-league lead in home runs with his 28th and added a sacrifice fly to raise his league-high RBI total to 78. The eighth-inning blast ended Hamilton’s 1-for-13 slump. Oakland, which had won four in a row and nine of 10, fell nine games behind Texas in the division but is just one-half game out of the second AL wild-card spot. Yoenis Cespedes’ sprained left thumb has not bothered him at the plate as he is 10-for-18 with two homers and six RBIs since the All-Star break.
Rangers Athletics Betting
When: 3:35 PM ET, Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
TV: 3:35 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), CSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Colby Lewis (6-6, 3.51 ERA) vs. Athletics LH Travis Blackley (2-2, 2.63)
Lewis is expected to be activated from the disabled list to make his first start since June 23. The 32-year-old, who has been sidelined with tendinitis in his right forearm, was battered for eight runs and 12 hits over four innings by Colorado in his last outing. Lewis is 7-4 in 19 career games against the Athletics, including a complete-game loss at Oakland on June 6 in which he allowed two runs.
Blackley will be making his eighth start of the season and first since July 1, when he limited the Rangers to one run over seven innings in a victory at Texas. The 29-year-old has allowed two runs or less in five of his first seven outings. Blackley is 2-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers.
1. Oakland CF Coco Crisp has missed three straight games with a sore left shoulder but could return Wednesday.
2. Texas RHP Alexi Ogando returned from the disabled list Tuesday and retired two of the three batters he faced. Ogando was sidelined with a groin injury.
3. Athletics OF Josh Reddick hit his team-leading 21st home run in Tuesday’s loss, giving the club 10 blasts over its last four contests.