Alexi Ogando(notes) insists he’s ready to rejoin the Texas Rangers’ rotation. Based on the way his team has fared against the Oakland Athletics this season, now might be the right time for him to do so.
The All-Star right-hander looks to put his recent struggles behind him and help the AL West-leading Rangers to a 10th straight win over the visiting A’s on Saturday.
Ogando (12-7, 3.66 ERA) will start for the first time since he allowed three runs in 2 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Aug. 31. Manager Ron Washington started Scott Feldman(notes) on Monday to give what he called a “mental break” to Ogando, who posted an 8.34 ERA in his last five starts.
“I was working hard and maybe thinking too hard,” Ogando said. “Thinking and trying to do too much. Maybe that was the mental part.”
After throwing a scoreless inning of relief during Monday’s 5-1 loss to the Rays, Ogando told Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux he was ready to return to the rotation as soon as possible.
“He was adamant that he is ready to pitch, so he’ll take the ball,” Washington told the Rangers’ official website. “It doesn’t have to be a no-hitter, just keep us in the ballgame.”
Though Ogando is making his first start versus Oakland, he posted a 2.08 ERA in six relief appearances against the A’s in 2010.
The Rangers (82-63) extended their winning streak over the A’s to nine games with a 13-4 rout Friday. Texas, which has outscored Oakland 66-25 during the streak, has not won 10 in a row against its division rival since a 13-game run 1977-78.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler(notes), who had three hits and four runs scored Friday, is hitting .354 during a 15-game streak versus Oakland (65-79). Michael Young(notes) had four RBIs in the series opener and has driven in 17 in 14 games against the A’s in 2011.
Texas could have star Josh Hamilton(notes) back after he missed the opener to attend the birth of his fourth child. Hamilton is 6 for 20 against scheduled Oakland starter Trevor Cahill(notes) (10-13, 4.20).
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 1.86 ERA against the Rangers this season and has allowed just three runs on homers to Beltre and Mitch Moreland(notes) over 14 2-3 innings while splitting his two 2011 starts in Arlington.
Cahill was 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA in six August starts, but he gave up a run in five innings to earn the victory in an 8-5 win over Seattle on Sunday.
Hideki Matsui(notes) and Josh Willingham(notes) each hit a two-run homer and rookie Jemile Weeks(notes) added two hits Friday, but the A’s lost for the third time in four games since winning four in a row. Oakland committed three errors and has an AL-high 115 on the season.
“It’s frustrating,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You can’t give teams like that extra outs and we’ve been giving extra outs all year.”
Weeks, batting .394 in his last 15 games, is 7 for 13 in his last three versus Texas.