Corey Seager got a rare day off on Tuesday, but the host Texas Rangers plan on having their power-hitting shortstop in the lineup Wednesday when they wrap up a two-game series with the Oakland Athletics in Arlington, Texas.
Seager, who hit his 30th home run on Monday in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins, requested a breather in Tuesday’s series opener with Oakland.
“It was his choice,” Texas interim manager Tony Beasley said pregame Tuesday. “I wanted to give him one of the games off in the day-night doubleheader, but he decided he’d rather play both of those games and have today off. It was his choice. We granted him that.”
In his absence, first baseman Mark Mathias batted second for Texas and belted two home runs, including the walk-off shot in the ninth inning in an 8-7 comeback win.
On Wednesday, the A’s (51-91) and Rangers (62-80) conclude their season series. Texas leads it, 11-7.
Texas will start right-hander Dane Dunning (3-8, 4.39 ERA) and Oakland counters with rookie left-hander JP Sears (5-2, 3.33).
Sears beat the Rangers in his lone appearance against them, on Aug. 16. In five innings, the 26-year-old didn’t allow a run, while scattering four hits. It wasn’t an overpowering performance, as he struck out two and walked three.
The A’s acquired Sears from the New York Yankees as part of the Frankie Montas trade.
In his last start, a 14-2 loss against the Chicago White Sox, Sears allowed six runs on eight hits in two innings.
A’s manager Mark Kotsay suggested Sears might have been tipping his pitches.
“Sometimes teams find nuances, and obviously (Sept. 8), I truly feel like they may have had an advantage with knowing what was coming to a certain extent, and that’s part of the game,” Kotsay told reporters postgame. “But we’re going to dive deep into seeing what or if Sears was tipping his pitches.”
Sears relies on keeping hitters off stride. Strikeouts aren’t his specialty; he has fanned 33 in 51 1/3 innings on the season. Sears has fared better on the road than at home. In 17 2/3 innings away, he’s 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA.
Dunning will be making his third start of the season against the A’s. The right-hander was credited with a win against Oakland on Aug. 18, allowing two runs in six innings. In 10 1/3 innings in the two starts, Dunning is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA.
For his career, the 27-year-old is 1-0 (2.70 ERA) in five appearances (four starts) against Oakland.
One of the Rangers’ steady performers has been outfielder Adolis Garcia, who is riding a five-game hitting streak. Garcia had an RBI double and two-run homer on Tuesday.
“The sky is the limit for Adolis,” Beasley said. “His ceiling is really, really high. He can improve on some things.”
Strike zone discipline remains an issue. The club would like for him to recognize when clubs are pitching around him and take his walks.
“When he does just that alone, and forces them in the strike zone, he’s dangerous,” Beasley said. “He can carry a team in many different ways — offensively, defensively, on the bases. He can impact the game. He’s a special player. He’s dynamic. He wants to be great and knows he can be great as well.”