Under new leadership, the Texas Rangers are focused on building momentum toward the 2023 season.
First, they have more immediate business to tend to, such as their four-game series with the Oakland Athletics.
After holding on to a 2-1 win Monday in the series opener, the Rangers will face the A’s again on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers made major news earlier on Monday, parting ways with manager Chris Woodward. Interim manager Tony Beasley, previously the third-base coach, was victorious in his first game.
“It’s bittersweet,” Beasley said during the Rangers’ news conference. “It’s opportunity for me, but it was at the cost of someone who is near and dear to my heart as well.”
Woodward was hired as manager after the 2018 season, and the club went 211-287 with him at the helm.
The Rangers opted to make the change now to focus on the rest of this season and get a head start for 2023.
“I have a job to do,” Beasley said. “I’ve been tasked with this specific job. I’m excited about the opportunity to do that.”
The victory Monday extended the Rangers’ winning streak to three games while the A’s suffered their ninth loss in a row.
On Tuesday, two inexperienced starting pitchers will face off. A’s left-hander JP Sears (3-0, 2.30 ERA) is set for his ninth career major league appearance and fourth start, all this year. The Rangers will call up right-hander Kohei Arihara for his major league season debut and the 11th start of his big-league career.
Sears has never faced the Rangers, but this season, the rookie actually defeated his current team.
Oakland acquired Sears from the New York Yankees on Aug. 1 as part of the Frankie Montas trade. While with New York on June 28 at Yankee Stadium, Sears threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Oakland and picked up the win.
Now adapting to his new club, Sears will make his second start with the A’s. On Wednesday against the visiting Los Angeles Angels, the 26-year-old gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision.
Sears, who attended The Citadel, was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 11th round in 2017. In November of that year, he was dealt along with right-hander Juan Then to New York for right-hander Nick Rumbelow.
Not overpowering, Sears has 18 strikeouts, with just five walks, in 27 1/3 major league innings.
The A’s are in the midst of a seven-game trip in the state of Texas. Before taking on the Rangers, they were swept in three games by the Houston Astros.
Grinding through a tough part of the schedule with a youthful roster is part of the learning experience for the rebuilding franchise.
“August is that time of year where you get some dog days and have to grind through it,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said, according to MLB.com. “We haven’t played terrible baseball. We’ve faced some good teams. We’ve been in most of the games. We just have to find a way to grind it out and win.”
Arihara, 30, went 3-6 with a 4.88 ERA in 18 games (14 starts) for Triple-A Round Rock this year. Last year for Texas, he went 2-4 with a 6.64 ERA in 10 starts. He has never faced Oakland.
A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano is dealing with some left-side soreness, and he didn’t play on Monday. Laureano experienced the discomfort on Sunday against the Astros and exited the game after two at-bats.
Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia has hit safely in a career-best 12 consecutive games.