Texas (12-18) at Oakland (18-13)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 47° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Sat May 3, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chad Gaudin has been nearly unhittable in his last three starts for the Oakland Athletics, but he’s also needed to be sharp to overcome some careless defensive play.

The slumping Athletics, coming off their worst game in the field this season, send Gaudin to the mound in the middle game of their series with the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.

Oakland (18-13) committed a season-high four errors in a 4-3 loss to Texas (12-18) on Friday night. A’s starter Joe Blanton gave up four runs, but only two were earned in what A’s manager Bob Geren called the team’s worst performance of the year.

The sloppy play befitted the two worst fielding teams in the American League. The Rangers, who had one error on Friday, are last with 31, but the A’s now have 27 and are second-worst.

Gaudin (3-1, 3.00 ERA) has had to contend with four errors in his last three starts—and also has an AL-leading three of his own—but he has won all three of those contests, striking out 16 and walking just three in 20 innings while posting a 0.90 ERA and limiting opponents to a .181 batting average.

The right-hander gave up two runs—one earned—and five hits in six innings as Oakland beat the Los Angeles Angels 14-2 on Monday night.

Gaudin went 2-3 with a 5.95 ERA in six starts versus the Rangers last season, and is 2-5 with a 6.13 ERA in six starts and nine relief appearances lifetime.

Texas shortstop Michael Young is batting .556 (10-for-18) with a home run and two doubles against Gaudin. He drove in a run with a sacrifice fly Friday to help the Rangers win their season-high third in a row.

Texas has won five of seven after losing its previous seven, easing speculation over manager Ron Washington’s job security. Washington enjoyed a successful first game of the season in the Bay Area, where he served as Oakland’s third-base coach for 11 seasons before taking over the Rangers last year.

“It’s always nice to come back,” he said. “It’s just like anything else, the game of baseball is a tough business. No matter what flares up, you hold your head up and stay strong—and that’s me. I spent 11 years here and never got anything but love.”

With his starting rotation hurt by injuries, Washington needs the fill-ins to step up to help Texas keep its run going. The Rangers have called up A.J. Murray from Triple-A Oklahoma to start Saturday, but he will likely get just one outing before Kason Gabbard (back) comes off the disabled list.

Texas cleared room for Murray on its roster by placing starter Jason Jennings (forearm) on the 15-day DL.

“It is what it is,” Washington said. “We’ve got what we’ve got.”

Murray had a 10.80 ERA in three spring training starts. He went 2-0 with a 4.18 ERA in six starts with Oklahoma.

The left-hander made his major league debut last season, starting out as a reliever before taking a couple of turns in the rotation. He went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 relief appearances and two starts.

Murray struggled in three relief appearances versus the Athletics, allowing five runs and eight hits—including three homers—in 6 1-3 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Murray Mil vs. C. Gaudin LAD
1-0 Record 9-5
3.52 ERA 4.40
5 K 71
3 BB 27
1.96 WHIP 1.32


Saturday, May 3