With a magic number of two, the A’s will clinch on Tuesday with a win and a Seattle loss at Anaheim.
“The best case is not to have to win in Seattle,” third baseman Eric Chavez said of the A’s upcoming weekend series at Safeco Field. “If we win the next two games, it would be nice. We could sit and relax a little bit.”
Rich Harden is still scheduled to start on Tuesday for Oakland. He was scratched from his Sunday start because of back spasms and replaced by Ted Lilly. The rookie right-hander did his regular throwing in the bullpen Monday.
“I’m able to go,” Harden said. “I’m feeling good.”
He saw a chiropractor and the team doctor and has been icing his back for more than an hour a day. Harden got off to a 3-0 start this year before cooling off. He’s 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 12 starts.
Oakland has won two straight and 10 of its last 13 games.
Chavez homered and drove in two runs as the Athletics defeated the Rangers for the fifth straight time, 7-3 on Monday.
Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-3 with a strikeout for Texas. Rodriguez has hit 344 of his 345 career home runs as a shortstop, one shy of the record held by Baltimore’s Cal Ripken.
Rodriguez has put together another monster season statistically. The All-Star shortstop is batting .297 and leads the AL with 47 home runs and 122 runs scored. He leads the Rangers with 117 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 23 GB, AL West. Athletics - 1st place, AL West.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ryan Drese (2-4, 7.91 ERA). The young right-hander yielding five runs—four earned—and six hits over just 3 1-3 innings in a 5-1 loss to Seattle on Wednesday. Drese is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA over his last six appearances, dating to May 8.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Harden (5-4, 4.64 ERA). The 21-year-old righty escaped without a decision in Oakland’s 6-5 loss to Anaheim last Tuesday. He allowed three runs, five hits and walked five in 6 1-3 innings. He’s issued 23 walks over his last 30 innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Michael Young, .309 avg.; Rodriguez, 47 HRs, 117 RBIs, 122 runs and 16 SBs. Athletics - Chavez, .283 avg. and 28 home runs; Tejada, 105 RBIs and 95 runs, Eric Byrnes and Tejada, 10 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 13-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - SS Rodriguez has at least 40 home runs and 100 RBIs in six straight seasons. … 2B Young leads all AL second basemen with a .309 batting average. … OF Laynce Nix fouled a ball off his right shin on Monday. He’s listed as day-to-day. Athletics - C Ramon Hernandez has started a career-high 15 straight games. … SS Tejada needs three more home runs to give him 30 for the fourth straight season. Tejada has knocked in 100 RBIs in four straight seasons. … The A’s 13 wins against Texas matches their total from 2002 against the Rangers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 27-49 on the road; Athletics - 55-24 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 60-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (back), 60-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 60-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL. Athletics - LHP Mark Mulder (leg), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 60-day DL.