The Rangers open a three-game series against the Athletics in Oakland tonight and the American League West title could be theirs before the final out is recorded.
If the Astros lose to the Angels (they start at 7:10 p.m.) the Rangers will clinch the West title whether they win or lose.
13 Combined earned runs allowed by Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish in their last starts. They combined to allow 13 hits and seven walks in 11 innings.
The Rangers’ game starts at 8:35 p.m. with Cole Hamels facing right-hander Kendall Graveman. Texas clinching the division is probably less important than Hamels having a decent outing. The lefty has struggled in three of his past four starts, allowing six or more runs in each on a combined 21 hits and 10 walks.
The next night is big for Yu Darvish, too. He’s allowed 12 runs in two of his past three starts, including tying a career high with seven earned runs allowed in his most recent outing. Seeing both get back on track would be huge for the Rangers, manager Jeff Banister said, but also important for the pitchers with the postseason looming. Both are likely to have just one more start after this weekend before the playoffs, which would begin for the Rangers in the ALDS on Oct. 6.
“It’d be nice for them go out there and throw the ball well and have some success,” Banister said. “There’s a lot of feel good there, a lot of momentum.”
The Rangers have yet to announce Sunday’s starter. It could be Colby Lewis, or perhaps A.J. Griffin, who left his last start Tuesday in the second inning after walking four. He had been ill for a couple days prior to the start.
The series details:
Friday: LHP Cole Hamels (14-5, 3.42) vs. RHP Kendall Graveman (10-10, 4.21) 8:35 p.m. (TV: FSSW)
Saturday: RHP Yu Darvish (5-5, 3.81) vs. RHP Raul Alcantara (1-1, 5.65) 3:05 p.m. (TV: FSSW)
Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Jharel Cotton (1-0, 1.50) 3:05 p.m. (TV: FSSW)