Drese will shoot for his fourth win in as many starts when the Rangers continue an important four-game series with the second-place Oakland Athletics.
Drese, who went 2-4 with a 6.85 ERA in 11 appearances for Texas last year, has emerged as one of the Rangers’ most solid starters this season. His 3.47 ERA leads the staff, and he has been especially stingy of late, yielding just four earned runs over 20 2-3 innings in winning his last three starts.
On Monday, Drese yielded just one run despite surrendering a season-high 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 6-1 victory at Anaheim. The 28-year-old right-hander struck out two without a walk, improving to 4-1 in his last five decisions.
“Ryan threw a lot of groundballs and kept it in the ballpark. That’s what he’s been doing for us most of the year,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
Drese has been dominant at home this year, going 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 10 appearances, including nine starts. His lone loss in Arlington came in a 1-0 setback to Houston on June 27.
The A’s will counter with Barry Zito, who is 12-1 with a 2.58 ERA in 19 career starts against Texas. The Rangers finally beat the former Cy Young Award winner on April 7, pulling out a 2-1 victory at Network Associates Coliseum.
After dropping the series opener 7-6 on Thursday to slip a half-game behind the streaking A’s, the Rangers climbed back on top of the division with a 7-5 win Friday. Laynce Nix and Michael Young hit consecutive two-run singles with two out in the bottom of the eighth as Texas rallied to end Oakland’s six-game winning streak.
Texas led the division by a season-best 4 1/2 games last Friday, but Oakland surged ahead with its hot streak.
Eric Byrnes hit a pair of homers for Oakland, which leads the AL wild-card race by a half-game over Boston.