Rangers-Athletics Preview

Trevor Cahill is solidifying his status as the Oakland Athletics
ace. The AL West-leading Texas Rangers know all about his ability
to dominate.

The 22-year-old Cahill looks to extend the longest scoreless
streak of his brief career Sunday when the A’s face the Rangers to
conclude a three-game series.

In his second major league season, Cahill (11-4, 2.72) leads the
A’s (55-54) in wins and is among the AL leaders in ERA while
allowing a league-low .192 average.

The All-Star right-hander is riding a streak of 18 consecutive
scoreless innings spanning three starts, winning his last two. He
tossed a three-hitter Monday in a 6-0 win over Kansas City for his
first complete game.

“Between his sinker, changeup and curveball, it gives him
basically three different speeds,” pitching coach Curt Young told
the team’s official website. “And with him changing speeds on his
fastball, he’s probably got five or six different speeds. It’s
really helped him – it’s an off-speed pitch other than his changeup
that he’s throwing for strikes.”

Cahill has dominated the Rangers (64-46), going 5-1 with a 1.83
ERA in seven starts. He’s been particularly good in three meetings
against them this year, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.96 ERA.

The latest of those matchups was July 28, when Cahill yielded
two hits in eight scoreless innings of a 3-1 win. Among the Rangers
to have struggled versus Cahill are Elvis Andrus, Vladimir Guerrero
and Nelson Cruz, who are a combined 6 for 38 (.158) against
him.

Cahill looks to shut down Texas just as teammate Gio Gonzalez
did Saturday, giving up four hits in seven scoreless innings of a
6-2 win.

The A’s are looking for their 10th win in 11 day games and they
own baseball’s best afternoon record at 26-11. Saturday’s victory
was originally scheduled as a night game but was changed for
TV.

“Even television’s trying to give them a chance,” Rangers
manager Ron Washington said. “Son of a gun. They’re out to get
us.”

The Rangers are trying to conclude this nine-game road trip
above .500 before entering an eight-game stretch against potential
playoff opponents. They open a two-game set with AL East-leading
New York on Tuesday before hosting Boston and visiting Tampa
Bay.

They’ll need to show some improvement at the plate, as they’ve
hit .239 during the trip with Michael Young going 4 for 34. Cruz is
in a 4-for-20 slump and so is Josh Hamilton, who leads the majors
with a .354 average.

They’ll try to end their funks in support of Colby Lewis (9-8,
3.45), who looks to avoid losing a fourth straight start.

The right-hander has a 3.60 ERA during his skid while getting
just two total runs of support. The stretch includes an impressive
effort against Oakland on July 28, as he lost to Cahill despite
yielding one run with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

The trend continued in Lewis’ outing Tuesday, allowing three
runs with nine strikeouts in six innings while the offense mustered
four hits in a 3-2 loss at Seattle.

“It’s just something that we’re dealing with,” Lewis told the
team’s official website. “We have to battle through it. It will
come when it comes.”

Lewis has received a total of three runs in three starts against
the A’s this season, going 0-2 with a 3.15 ERA.