James Kaprielian, A’s attempt to bounce back vs. Rangers

MLB Baseball

James Kaprielian has been one of the better rookie pitchers in the majors this season for the Oakland Athletics. However, he’s likely ready to finally get the best of the Texas Rangers.

Facing the Rangers for the third time in a little more than two weeks, Kaprielian will try to help the visiting A’s even this three-game series on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Kaprielian (4-3, 2.84 ERA), called up to make his first major league start on May 12, has been a pleasant surprise for Oakland. The right-hander has allowed more than two earned runs just three times over his 10 starts this season, but is 0-2 while yielding just six runs, 16 hits and striking out 20 over 19 innings of his last three outings.

He surrendered a run, five hits and struck out a career-high 10 with a walk over seven innings of a 1-0 loss to Boston on Sunday.

“He seems to get better and more confident every time,” manager Bob Melvin told the Athletics’ official website.

“The more he’s out there, the more confident he gets, and the better we feel about him.”

Prior to that strong outing against the Red Sox, Kaprielian faced the Rangers in back-to-back outings — a 5-3 Oakland loss on June 23 and a 5-4 defeat on the 29th. He allowed five runs, three homers and struck out 10 with two walks in those contests, while going six innings of each.

Two of those home runs came courtesy of Rangers star Joey Gallo, who is 3-for-5 with a walk and strikeout against Kaprielian. Gallo’s six-game home hitting streak ended during Texas’ 3-2 victory in Friday’s series opener.

However, Adolis Garcia, the Rangers’ other All-Star, delivered a two-run go-ahead single during a three-run sixth inning for Texas, which is 8-5 since June 25 and 5-3 versus Oakland this season. According to the Rangers, Garcia’s 61 RBIs are the most by a Rangers rookie before the All-Star break.

“We play (Oakland) well,” Texas closer Ian Kennedy, who has converted his 15th save Friday, told Bally Sports Southwest. “They’re a really good team.

“Our guys seem to find a way to pitch up to them . . . and our competition.”

The A’s have dropped four of their last five and are 6-13 following a seven-game winning streak from June 11-18. Six of their last seven games have been decided by one run while they’ve been held to three or fewer runs seven times over the last nine.

Oakland also hopes for a better performance Saturday than it had this season against scheduled Texas starter Mike Foltynewicz (2-8, 5.17 ERA). The right-hander allowed four runs, 10 hits and struck out 11 with a walk over 13 innings in going 1-0 in two starts versus Oakland last month.

Sean Murphy and Matt Chapman each homered in those games off Foltynewicz, who gave up four runs on two homers over seven innings of a 4-1 loss at Seattle on Sunday. Only twice in Foltynewicz’s 17 starts this season have his Rangers teammates scored more than three runs with him in the game.

Chapman, who had two hits on Friday, is batting .364 (8-for-22) over his last five contests.

–Field Level Media

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