Fox News - Fair & Balanced

Sports


American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, July 18th (All times Eastern)

Texas Rangers (55-35) at Oakland Athletics (46-44), 3:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Colby Lewis (6-6, 3.51) Oakland - Travis Blackley (2-2, 2.63)

(Sports Network) - Set to return from the disabled list, Colby Lewis would love to duplicate everything from his previous start against the Oakland Athletics other than the result.

The Texas Rangers turn to the 32-year-old this afternoon in an attempt to sweep a brief two-game set from the division-rival A's.

Lewis was placed on the DL because of right forearm tendinitis one day after lasting just four innings in a June 23 outing versus the Rockies. He was tagged for eight runs -- seven earned -- on 12 hits in the loss.

That setback dropped the right-hander to 6-6 with a 3.51 earned run average in 15 starts this season, a span that includes an excellent outing at Oakland on June 6. Lewis tossed an eight-inning complete game on that day, allowing two runs but suffering a 2-0 setback.

"It is what it is. You have to go out there and keep the team in the game," Lewis said afterwards. "You have to keep doing what you're doing and try to go deep in the game and let things fall where they may."

The defeat left Lewis 7-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 19 career meetings with the Athletics, including 17 starts.

Oakland will counter with Travis Blackley, who makes his first start since July 1 at Texas. The left-hander beat the Rangers in that outing, hurling seven innings of one-run ball while scattering seven hits without a walk.

Blackley then had his next start pushed back due to back stiffness, though with the All-Star break looming he made a relief appearance on July 7 versus Seattle, yielding a hit over three frames.

The 29-year-old has split two encounters with the Rangers this season, getting tagged for five runs over 4 2/3 frames of a home loss to the club on June 5.

Overall in 2012, Blackley is 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 11 games, including seven starts, with both San Francisco and Oakland.

The Rangers picked up their fifth victory in six games on Tuesday night, rolling past the Athletics by a 6-1 margin. Josh Hamilton hit a solo homer and ended with two RBI, while Adrian Beltre added another solo shot.

In his fifth start of 2012, Roy Oswalt allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts and zero walks over 6 1/3 frames. He improved to 3-1 and lowered his ERA from 6.26 to 5.22.

"I'm getting close," Oswalt said. "The hitters have 300 at-bats behind them and have seen a lot of pitchers, and I'm trying to get up to speed."

While the American League West-leading Rangers upped their edge over the second-place Angels to 5 1/2 games, the A's had a four-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the second time in 11 games this month. Josh Reddick had a solo homer and Bartolo Colon yielded four runs over seven innings.

"When guys aren't hitting, you expect the rest of the lineup to be able to pick you up, and to this point we've had production from other guys to overcome the struggles of some guys," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

It was a rare loss by Colon to the Rangers as he came into the game with a 13-1 mark over his previous 15 starts against them.

However, the Rangers now own a slight 6-5 advantage over the Athletics this season, taking two of five in Oakland.

07/18 10:30:34 ET