Texas (59-44) at Oakland (44-60)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Mon Aug 3, 2009
  • TV: FSSW, CSCA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Striving for their first playoff berth in a decade, the Texas Rangers are embarking on a 10-game road trip without their top run producer.

With Ian Kinsler(notes) out due to injury, Michael Young(notes) appears to be up to the task of carrying the offense.

Young looks to continue his surge at the plate and help lead the Rangers to their 12th win in 15 games in the opener of a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

Ten minutes before Sunday’s 4-2 win over Seattle, Texas (59-44) placed Kinsler on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, retroactive to Wednesday. Kinsler, who leads the Rangers in RBIs (63) and is second on the team in homers (23), missed five straight starts and said before the game that the injury hadn’t improved, but hadn’t gotten worse either.

Texas wasn’t about to take any chances with Kinsler, hoping that its leadoff hitter will be healthy for the stretch run.

The Rangers, seeking their first playoff appearance since 1999, are four games behind the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels and trail Boston by 2 1/2 games in the wild-card race.

This is an important road trip for Texas, which travels to Anaheim for three games after this series.

“We have to play well on the road,” Young told the Rangers’ official Web site. “That will be a big challenge and a good test for us.”

Young has been vital to Texas’ latest push.

The Rangers third baseman hit his 17th homer Sunday and is batting .500 (17 for 34) with five home runs and 10 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. He is also 11 for 33 with five doubles and three RBIs in eight games versus the Athletics this season, helping the Rangers win five.

While Texas is in the postseason mix, Oakland (44-60) could drop 17 games below .500 for the first time since finishing the 1997 season 65-97 with a loss in the opener.

The A’s are coming off Sunday’s 7-2 loss to Toronto, their second straight defeat and seventh in 11 games.

Despite Oakland’s recent swoon, Brett Anderson(notes) (6-8, 4.33 ERA) has been a bright spot.

After going 3-7 with a 5.74 ERA in his first 13 career starts, Anderson is 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA in his last six. The rookie left-hander has struck out 40 in 39 innings and is limiting opponents to a .173 batting average in that span.

In Wednesday’s 8-6 win at Boston, the 21-year-old allowed three runs - all in the first - and four hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.

Anderson hasn’t faced the Rangers since earlier in the season when he was struggling. He is 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts against them.

Texas counters with Dustin Nippert(notes) (3-0, 3.38), who is set to make another emergency start.

Nippert takes the place in the rotation for Kevin Millwood(notes) (strained gluteus muscle), who left last Sunday’s 7-2 win over Kansas City after two innings. Nippert replaced Millwood and allowed one run, one hit and two walks in 4 2-3 innings to earn the victory.

In his last start on July 22, Nippert took the mound for scratched starter Vicente Padilla(notes) and gave up one run and five hits in a season-high 5 2-3 innings of a 3-1 win over Boston.

This will be Nippert’s first appearance of the season against the A’s after going 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in three games - two starts - versus them a year ago.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Nippert Tex vs. B. Anderson LAD
5-3 Record 11-11
3.88 ERA 4.06
54 K 150
29 BB 45
1.33 WHIP 1.28

Scoreboard

Monday, Aug 3