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Emotional Cashner set to lead Rangers vs. Athletics

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers right-hander Andrew Cashner doesn't need to do anything else to prove he's going to be a hot commodity when he hits free agency this offseason.

That doesn't mean Cashner (10-11, 3.42 ERA) isn't looking to end the season on a strong note Saturday when he makes his final start of the season as the Rangers host the Oakland Athletics and right-hander Daniel Gossett (4-10, 5.82 ERA).

Cashner, a Texas native who pitched collegiately at TCU, sounded a little nostalgic about making his final start of the season.

"I have a lot of people coming tomorrow that have been instruments not just this season but in my career," he said. "It's an exciting moment. It's a sad moment. Something I'm really looking forward to. It's just going to be special I don't know if I'm ever going to pitch in Texas again, so it's one of those things where you go out and leave it all on the field."

Cashner, who signed a one-year deal with the Rangers before the season, needs to record just four outs to ensure qualifying status for just the third time in his career. If he does, it'll show just how well Cashner has stacked up against some of baseball's best pitchers.

Cashner's ERA would have him ninth among qualifiers. That's what happens when you have the kind of stretch Cashner's had to close the season. Over his last 14 starts, he's 7-4 with a 3.02 ERA. Even though he took the loss in his last start, an 11-2 setback to Houston, Cashner's ERA actually went down. He was charged with eight runs, but only one of them was earned.

That start came when the Rangers were still mathematically alive in the postseason picture. That's not the case anymore, but that hasn't impacted his mindset.

"I think I need to do what I'm good at," he said. "That's been my mentality the whole season and that doesn't change just because we're out of it."

Cashner would also like to end the season with his first-ever win against the A's. Saturday's game will be his third start against Oakland and fourth appearance overall. He's 0-0 with a 4.38 ERA in the outings, including a no-decision in May in which Cashner allowed just one run in six innings.

Gossett is also looking for his first win against the Rangers, but that's because he hasn't faced them yet. The rookie is making his 18th start this year. While Cashner has been rolling recently, things haven't gone so well for Gossett despite the strong end to the season for the A's.

Since getting recalled from Triple-A on Aug. 23, Gossett is just 1-4 with a 6.81 ERA and opponents are batting .331 against him in that span. He's just one of three pitchers in Oakland history to lose at least 10 games in their first 17 starts.

If Gossett can keep the A's in the game Saturday, they'll have a chance late because of their bullpen. Chris Hatcher and Blake Treinen, who were both acquired in trades, have helped solidify a unit that has an ERA that's nearly a run lower (4.05 vs 4.97) since the All-Star break.

That has eased some of the bullpen concerns heading into the offseason.

"It's going to be a targeted area but maybe not as much as a month-and-a-half or two months ago," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

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