The Oakland Athletics are on the verge of tying a dubious franchise record.
They’ll try to avoid it when they look to snap a season-high eight-game losing streak in the middle game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Oakland (44-49) has scored three runs or fewer in 11 straight games after losing 4-1 in the series opener Monday. The franchise record for such a streak was a 12-game run from Sept. 12-24, 1967 - the last season for the A?s in Kansas City.
The Athletics, who have scored 25 runs over the last 11 games, only avoided their eighth shutout on Marco Scutaro’s RBI single in the ninth inning.
Their anemic lineup was also hampered without third baseman Eric Chavez, a late scratch with tightness in his lower back. His status is uncertain for this contest.
“Right now we just have more guys than not struggling a little bit,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Any time you’re not swinging the bat the way you’d like, you put pressure on yourself because you’re letting the team down. It looks like kind of a group effort.”
Oakland made a trade Monday, dealing struggling catcher Jason Kendall and cash to the Chicago Cubs for catcher Rob Bowen and minor league left-hander Jerry Blevins. Kendall was batting a career-low .226.
The A’s will give Kurt Suzuki more playing time behind the plate due to the trade. Suzuki, a second-round draft pick by Oakland in 2004, went 0-for-3 in Monday’s loss.
“It’s something that has to happen at some point,” general manager Billy Beane said of Suzuki’s move into a prominent role. “We don’t expect him to know the league like Jason did or initially have the comfort factor that Jason had with these guys, and vice versa. But again, it’s all part of the process of developing a young player.”
Texas (40-52) has won four of seven games against Oakland this year. Jerry Hairston and Marlon Byrd each hit two-run doubles for the Rangers, who opened play after the All-Star break by losing two of three to the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
Chad Gaudin (8-4, 3.18 ERA) tries to bounce back from a shaky start when he takes the ball for Oakland. The right-hander allowed five runs and six hits over four-plus innings in a 6-2 defeat to Minnesota on Thursday.
He walked five - tying a season high - and struck out two.
“That’s not the way I wanted to start the second half,” said Gaudin, who won eight of 10 decisions heading into the All-Star break. “They were patient at the plate and they worked the count on me, made me really buckle down.”
Gaudin is 1-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 11 career games versus the Rangers, including two starts, which have both come this season. He held them to just one earned run and eight hits through 12 2-3 innings in those two outings, including a 5-3 victory on May 28.
Gaudin opposed Robinson Tejeda in that game and will do so again Tuesday.
Tejeda (5-8, 6.70) will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma to take the mound for Texas. The right-hander has been part of the starting rotation all season, but went 1-5 with a 9.15 ERA and a .343 opponent batting average in nine starts heading into the All-Star break.
He gave up four runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-2 defeat to the Angels on July 5, and was optioned so the Rangers could add a reliever to their depleted bullpen.
Tejeda is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in four career starts versus the Athletics, but just 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in two outings against them this year.