The Texas Rangers are currently .5 games up on the Oakland Athletics in the AL West. Having just lost a series in Oakland, the Rangers only have one more series against the A’s in the regular season. The last series will be in Arlington so home field advantage will hopefully play a big factor.
The A’s are really not a very good baseball team. I have compiled an easy list of goals which, if completed by the Rangers, should make the upcoming series look like a Little League matchup.
Slow down Brandon Moss and Coco Crisp
First, it is necessary to address the couple players on the Athletic’s club who are legitimately playing good baseball. Moss has blasted six home runs over eleven games and is hitting .333 in the month of September. However, the Rangers have to know that this won’t last. Moss is hitting .250 on the season; just the mediocre batting average a mediocre player should have. Moss isn’t an All-Star, he will eventually fall to good pitching.
Coco Crisp is hitting .345 over the last week with four home runs. I spoke about Crisp’s hot streak recently so not too much detail is needed here. But, just like Brandon Moss, Crisp only has a mediocre average this season because he is just a mediocre player, hitting .260.
Stay away from Balfour
The Aussie has been phenomenal this year with thirty-six saves and only two blown opportunities. If the Rangers want to take this next series vs the A’s they need to make sure to win the game before Balfour comes in. Texas has to put up runs in the first few innings and get on top of the Athletics before they bring in their secret weapon from down under.
A’s starter A.J. Griffin has allowed the most home runs of any pitcher in the Major Leagues. Normally I am a huge supporter of a team playing small ball to win games; however, this is A.J. Griffin. Power hitters Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, Lance Berkman, Ian Kinsler, and A.J. Pierzynski should be sitting with eyes wide in the dugout just waiting for a chance to step up to the plate against Griffin. If the Athletics are going to pitch Griffin against Texas, the Rangers need to give them a ride for their money.
Defense wins games
The Rangers need to play solid defense if they are going to beat this Oakland team. The A’s will not overpower Texas with their bats; no one on the team is even hitting .300! Therefore, it shouldn’t be hard to keep them off the base paths. However, once the errors and walks start piling up the A’s become a legitimate threat.
Take the free runs
Bartolo Colon is the only Athletics starter who has under a 3.00 ERA. This means that every nine innings the A’s play, the odds are they are giving up three or more runs. The Rangers need to take the free runs which Oakland pitchers will hand out to them without letting the A’s score on any stupid mistakes.
If the Rangers can follow these simple rules they should sweep the A’s with ease. This is shaping up to be an exciting month for Texas Rangers baseball.