|A's hope ace Graveman gets in groove vs. Rangers|
The Oakland A's have been on a tear over the past week and a half but have had that success without much contribution from right-hander Kendall Graveman, their opening day starter and erstwhile ace.
Graveman (0-4, 10.07 ERA) will head to the mound on Wednesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, to try to get back on track and get a piece of the A's momentum. Texas will send right-hander Doug Fister (1-2, 3.95 ERA), who returns to the team after a stint on the disabled list, to oppose him.
Oakland will go for the series sweep on after beating the Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday behind six innings of 1-run, 4-hit from Trevor Cahill and a home run from Mark Canha.
The win Tuesday was the Athletics' eighth in their past nine games.
Graveman was the losing pitcher in his last start, a 7-3 A's loss to Boston on April 20 in Oakland. In that game, he showcased a modified delivery, keeping his hands near his belt as opposed to bringing them over his head, and also utilized his changeup with more frequency, loosening his grip on the pitch.
The results were encouraging -- Graveman's lone blemish was a three-run homer by the Red Sox's Jackie Bradley, Jr. Graveman retired 11 in a row at one point in the game.
"The mindset is good," Graveman said. "I made really good pitches last week and had a good bullpen session this week, kept it shorter than I have been to save some of my arm, and I just want to continue to focus on location.
"I'm excited about jumping on board and getting it rolling, too," Graveman added. "That, for me, is the next step, helping this team win. I'm excited where I'm headed, where I'm trending."
Graveman's four losses are tied for the major league lead and ranks last in the majors with 25 runs allowed and second in the American League with 35 hits allowed. He has allowed at least four runs while tossing five innings or fewer in each of his first five starts, a mark that matches the longest such streak by an Athletics pitcher at any point in the season since at least 1908.
Graveman is 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA in nine career starts against Texas. He was the losing pitcher in his only start versus the Rangers this year, a 4-1 A's loss on April 3.
Fister returns from the DL (right hip strain), meaning -- for the time being -- the Rangers will go with six starters on its pitching staff. Bartolo Colon was elevated from the bullpen to a starting role when Fister was on the shelf and performed well, taking a perfect game into the eighth in his first start.
Texas manager Jeff Banister said getting Fister back gives his team some maneuverability.
"It's a lot better than only having four," Banister told mlb.com. "We like the fact we're getting Doug back and we like where (Martin) Perez is trending. Those are positive questions. But we've got some options, and we'll have some decisions to make."
Fister is 8-9 with a 3.35 ERA over 19 career starts versus the Athletics, including 0-1, 13.50 ERA in a single start last season as a member of the Red Sox. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss at Oakland on April 4.