A hectic travel schedule is testing the Texas Rangers.
After splitting a day-night doubleheader at the Miami Marlins on Monday, the Rangers open a two-game series with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.
Texas has been on the go of late. Monday’s one-day trip to Miami was part of the early season rescheduling after the campaign started late due to the lockout.
Before Monday, the Rangers were home for three games against the Toronto Blue Jays. That series came after a seven-game road trip to Boston and Houston.
The Texas traveling show has challenged the Rangers in terms of lining up their pitching.
“We’ve got to be smart with how we use guys,” Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley told reporters on Monday. “And we have to be cognizant of what’s ahead. We have the luxury of having guys who have length, and we can throw multiple innings.”
On Tuesday, the Rangers and A’s are both starting southpaws.
Cole Ragans (0-2, 3.80 ERA) gets the nod for Texas (61-80), and Oakland (51-90) is going with Ken Waldichuk (0-1, 3.60).
Waldichuk, making his third major league start, went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs in a loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
Ragans will be facing the A’s for the second time in less than a month. On Aug. 17, the left-hander gave up three runs on four hits in five innings.
This will be Waldichuk’s first appearance against Texas.
The Rangers lead the season series, 10-7.
The A’s are fresh off a 10-3 home victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Prior to the game, they retired former star Dave Stewart’s No. 34 jersey.
Before Sunday’s lopsided win, the A’s had a team meeting, and drew inspiration off Stewart’s spending career.
The message manager Mark Kotsay conveyed to his team was to continue showing fight.
The players went out and performed. Tony Kemp and Vimael Machin each had three hits.
“Showing the support of our group behind Dave was important, because the man is all of what an Oakland A is,” Kotsay told MLB.com. “The grit and the grind, the fight. He’s a part of our group. I spoke to the team this morning. We talked about Dave Stewart, the person and the player he represented here in Oakland and for our organization.”
Like the A’s, the Rangers are giving ample playing time to their young players.
Texas’ top prospect, third baseman Josh Jung, is gaining valuable major league experience in the final weeks of the season.
In Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader, Jung snapped a streak of striking out six straight times by delivering an RBI double to the wall in center field. He then homered in the second game.
“There’s always going to be a learning curve when it comes to the major league level,” Beasley said of Jung. “He’s going to face pitching one night that he’s going to be like, ‘I can handle this guy.’
“Then the next night you’re going to see something that you have never seen before. It’s going to be an adjustment to him. Josh is a good hitter. He’s always been able to hit. He will adjust to the pitching up here.”