Rangers-Athletics Preview


The last time Derek Holland stepped on the mound in Oakland, he took the loss on the final day last season to complete the Texas Rangers' stunning collapse.

This time, he won't be nearly under the same type of pressure.

Holland goes for a third consecutive winning start as he tries to help the Rangers end a five-game road losing streak to the Athletics on Tuesday night.

The left-hander gave up three runs - one earned - in 2 2-3 innings of a rare relief outing Oct. 3, when Texas blew a four-run lead to fall 12-5 at Oakland, and relinquish the AL West title on the final day of the regular season last year.

The Rangers, who held a 13-game edge over the A's on June 30, went on to get eliminated in the wild-card round by Baltimore.

They didn't get this three-game set off to a good start Monday, losing 5-1 to snap their four-game winning streak with their fifth straight defeat in Oakland.

Holland (3-2, 2.54 ERA) allowed one run and scattered 10 hits in seven innings of a 4-1 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday. That performance came five days after he pitched eight innings with nine strikeouts in a 7-0 win over Boston.

Despite his performance against the A's on Oct. 3, Holland is 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA over his last nine games - seven starts - against them, winning his last two road starts.

He may not have to deal with Yoenis Cespedes, who hit his seventh homer Monday before exiting in the fifth with a stomach bug.

"It came on during the game," manager Bob Melvin said. "He threw up a couple times in the bathroom. They're calling it a stomach ailment, they don't think it's a stomach virus. They think he should be in good shape to play (Tuesday)."

Cespedes has homered on both of his hits in six at-bats versus Holland. The slugger is batting .369 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 18 career meetings with the Rangers, including a .419 average in 10 home games.

Having Cespedes healthy may be important since Bartolo Colon (3-2, 4.57) is expected to get the ball, and he's compiled an 8.22 ERA over his last three starts - losing the past two while serving up two homers in each.

The veteran right-hander hasn't dropped three straight starts since Aug. 17-28, 2011, with the New York Yankees.

His latest effort may not inspire much confidence in that changing just yet. Colon was tagged for a season-high six runs and eight hits over four innings - his shortest outing of the season - in a 9-2 loss at Cleveland on Thursday.

"He didn't look awful," manager Bob Melvin told the team's official website. "Velocity was there. The balls he got in the middle of the plate, they hit."

Colon went 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA over two starts - both at home - against Texas last year. However, he's allowed Adrian Beltre to go 10 for 31 with four doubles and two homers off him over the last five years.

The third baseman is batting .372 with two homers and 11 RBIs in his past 10 games.