If the Texas Rangers are clinging to any hope of a playoff berth, they need as many wins as possible. With Scott Feldman(notes) pitching on the road, they should have a good chance to get one Thursday.
Feldman will try to extend his club record by winning his ninth consecutive road start as the Rangers finish a four-game series with the Oakland Athletics.
After opening the season in the bullpen, Feldman has been bizarrely dominant on the road since joining the rotation. He is 12-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 14 starts away from home.
Feldman (17-5, 3.62 ERA) has a 1.36 ERA during his eight-start road winning streak, tossing seven shutout innings in the most recent one Sept. 9 in a 10-0 win over Cleveland.
“I think it’s a pretty humbling game, so you can’t get too high or low,” Feldman said that night. “I just try to focus on my next start and stay prepared.”
He already has one win at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum this year, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of a 3-2 victory May 6, but he gave up six runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-0 home defeat to the A’s on Sept. 14, his only loss since the beginning of August.
Feldman rebounded to beat the Los Angeles Angels with 6 2-3 strong innings in a 3-2 win Saturday. Catching Los Angeles - while still a longshot - probably represents the Rangers’ best chance of reaching the postseason.
Texas (83-68) trails the Angels by 6 1/2 games in the AL West, but could cut into that lead with four games in Anaheim beginning Monday.
The Rangers fell from contention when they scored one total run during a five-game losing streak last week - a stretch that included a three-game sweep by the A’s.
But Texas’ banged-up offense, still lacking Josh Hamilton(notes) and Michael Young(notes), has come alive in Oakland. The Rangers racked up 15 hits in a 10-3 win in Monday’s series opener and outslugged the A’s (72-80) for a 9-8 win Wednesday.
Blalock has six hits - four of them for extra bases - and six RBIs in this series. He drove in 23 runs in 24 games last September.
“Hank is becoming Mr. September,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Last year he did the same thing. I definitely need him and I’m happy he’s out there for us. We need a presence in the lineup and he’s got presence. He can put runs on the board with one swing.”
The 21-year-old left-hander has won three straight starts and shown no signs of wearing down late in his first big league season. He struck out a season-high 10 in six shutout innings of a 2-1 win over Cleveland on Friday.
“Brett just keeps getting better in the second half,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Now he really has no real weakness as a pitcher. He can do whatever he wants with a baseball.”
He’s 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA in three starts against Texas, but he pitched 7 2-3 impressive innings in Oakland’s 3-2 win in his most recent matchup with the Rangers on Aug. 3.