Since 1999, the Oakland Athletics have been the best team in baseball after the All-Star break. They’ll need to get their offense going if they hope to keep that trend going this season.
The A’s look to snap a seven-game losing streak Monday when they open a three-game series with the last-place Texas Rangers at McAfee Coliseum.
Oakland (44-48) is 376-221 after the All-Star game since 1999 and has reached the postseason five times over that span. However, the A’s were swept in four games by Minnesota to open the second half of this season, and Sunday’s 4-3 loss left them a season-worst four games under .500.
The A’s, who trail the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels by 11 1/2 games, have dropped seven straight for the first time since May 20-26 last season and haven’t lost eight in a row since May 21-29, 2005.
“We’re better than we’re playing and we know we’re better than we’re playing,” said Dan Haren, who pitched Sunday for the first time since starting for the AL in the All-Star game, but did not receive a decision. “We’re not letting up and we’re not down, but it’s the time of year that we have to turn things around.”
A slumping offense has been one of the biggest reasons for Oakland’s slide. The A’s matched a team record set in September 1978 by failing to score more than three runs in their 10th straight game Sunday.
“We just need to get a little more offense, I guess, to win games,” manager Bob Geren said. “What’d we get, six hits tonight? Offense is starting to come around, we just need to break out and get us on the winning track once that gets going. Our pitching has been pretty good.”
Oakland will try to get its bats going against Jamey Wright (2-2, 5.55 ERA), who has not pitched since July 4, when he allowed two runs in a season-high six innings of a 4-2 win over the Angels. The start was his fifth of the season and fourth since a stint on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
“I feel like I’m getting better and better,” he told the Rangers’ official Web site.
Wright has not received a decision in two career starts against Oakland despite allowing 16 runs in 12 innings. He gave up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings on June 24 last season while with San Francisco in his first appearance against the A’s since 1998.
The Rangers (39-52) avoided a three-game sweep with Sunday’s 11-inning, 5-4 win over the Angels. Mark Teixeira, who returned from a stint on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps on Friday, led off the 11th with a homer and hit an RBI double in the eighth.
“I really worked hard while I was on the disabled list to make sure I didn’t lose a step when I got back,” Teixeira said. “The drills and the work that I was doing when I was hurt, watching video and tracking balls in the cage, that was all to make sure I didn’t lose too much timing. I feel as good as I did before I left.”
Texas will square off against Oakland’s Dallas Braden (1-3, 6.08), who will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Braden, who was pulled from his Thursday start after four innings so that he could come back on three days’ rest, made three relief appearances in his most recent stint with the A’s, allowing two runs in four innings without receiving a decision from June 27-July 1.
Earlier in the season, Braden made four starts, going 1-3 with a 6.41 ERA. He has never faced Texas.