Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/13/13
Jarrod Parker This weekend, the Oakland Athletics take on the Texas Rangers for the last time this season. The last time they met, there was an all-out struggle for the American League West lead. The A’s won the first and third game of the three games series against the Rangers during the first week of September to tied with the Texas team for first in the AL West. But the Athletics wanted more. They wanted the AL West lead for themselves. And it was not hard to achieve. The Rangers have lost eight out of the last ten games while the Athletics have won seven games in the last ten. This may have to do with the Rangers going up against some hard-hitting teams. During the month of September, the Texas Rangers play 16 games against teams with a .500 record or higher while the A’s play only seven games against teams with a .500 or higher record. This schedule set up the Athletics perfectly to snatch the AL West lead away from the Rangers. Now the Oakland Athletics lead by 3½ games as the series against the Rangers begins on Friday in Arlington. The worst case scenario would be If the Rangers swept the A’s. This would bring them a half game back from the lead, which would be too close for comfort. This is highly possible seeing as though the A’s have lost four out of the last five games against the Rangers on the road. The Athletics need to win at least one game during this three game series in order to keep a semi-comfortable lead. For the Athletics, Dan Straily, Bartolo Colon, and Jarrod Parker will be taking the mound. If the A’s are going to win at least one game, it is going to be when Parker is pitching. Even though Straily is currently riding a three game win streak and Colon has been the Athletics star pitcher this season, Straily has not been stellar against the Rangers – going 2-1 with a 5.14 ERA – and Colon has been injured and only earned his first W since July 31st on Sunday. Parker only has a 3.55 ERA for the season but he has been the most consistent out of these three that will take the mound against the Rangers this weekend. He has earned a win in five out of the his last ten outings and a 2.90 ERA. He is currently averaging three or less earned runs in the last ten games and is pitching about of seven innings each game. Bottom line is – if the Athletics are going to win just one game, its going to be with Parker on the mound. The Athletics definitely have battle ahead of them. But this series will also determine who will win the war that occurred throughout this 2013 season. With this being their last meeting before the season ends, it will be a good preview as to who will take the AL West lead title and head into the postseason. The Rangers and A’s have been going back and forth all season and hopefully all this pressure will not cause the Athletics to crack.  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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