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.