Oakland Athletics hitter Khris Davis reacts as he runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on May 12, 2018 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers get to play the role of the spoiler but are not quite sure who they will be spoiling with when they open a three-game series Monday night against the Oakland Athletics.
The Rangers' pitching rotation got thrown for a bit of a loop during the weekend when veteran Bartolo Colon experienced back spasms and had to be scratched from his Sunday start.
The injury is not considered serious, and Rangers manager Jeff Banister indicated he would need to check in with Colon (7-10, 5.19 ERA) after the club's flight to Oakland on Sunday night to see if and when the right-hander might be available to pitch against one of his former teams.
Colon pitched two seasons for the A's, leading them into the 2013 playoffs.
Oakland hasn't been back in the postseason since 2014, but the A's currently occupy the second wild-card position in the American League after falling out of a first-place tie with Houston following a 9-4 loss to the Astros on Sunday.
Oakland entered the series two behind the Astros, then drew even with wins Friday and Saturday before taking a step backward on Sunday despite two homers from Khris Davis.
"We just took two out of three from a really good team," Oakland catcher Jonathan Lucroy told reporters. "We're not going to win every game the rest of the year. It would be nice, but it's very unlikely, especially when you're playing teams in your division that are really good. We just gotta stay the course, keep winning series, and that's the best we can do right now. For me, I think that's a very good goal for us to have."
The A's (74-50) will begin the week 3 1/2 games ahead of Seattle (71-54) in the battle for the second wild-card spot. They also are four games behind the New York Yankees (78-46) for the first wild-card spot.
Right-hander Mike Fiers (8-6, 3.38) will seek to improve his record to 3-0 since joining the A's in a trade from the Detroit Tigers when he pitches the series opener against the Rangers.
Fiers has had mixed results against Texas. He has beaten the Rangers twice this season for the Detroit Tigers, allowing only three runs in 11 1/3 innings, but that improved his career record against them to just 2-3 with a 7.17 ERA in eight games, including seven starts.
The 33-year-old played a key role in the A's catching the Astros, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers and Mariners in his last two starts. Oakland won both games 3-2.
One guy who has enjoyed seeing Fiers is Rangers slugger Joey Gallo, who has homered twice in nine career at-bats against him.
Rougned Odor was the Rangers' big hitter when they defeated the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Sunday, taking three of four in the series. Odor drove in all four Rangers runs, three with a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning.
Odor is batting .338 this month and his season average is up to .279.
"It's another one of those situations that will add to what Rougie has been able to do this year to right the ship and move himself forward," Banister told reporters.
The win capped a 4-2 homestand for Texas, which catches a break during this week's trip to California. The Rangers won't have to change hotels, being that they follow their three games at Oakland with three at nearby San Francisco.
The Rangers won five of the first seven meetings from the A's this season but then got steamrolled by the surging club in a four-game series at Texas in July, getting outscored 41-24 in the sweep.
Davis bombed four home runs and totaled 11 RBIs in the four wins.
He also swung a hot bat during the weekend against the Astros, contributing two doubles and two RBIs to Saturday's 7-1 win, before hitting homers in each of his first two at-bats against Justin Verlander on Sunday.
Davis (36) and Gallo (32) both rank among the top five in the AL in home runs entering the series.