Disappointed Rangers look to finish strong vs. A's

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After winning the American League West the past two years, the Texas Rangers were expecting big things in 2017.

Those expectations never materialized.

The Rangers head into their final series of the regular season resigned to the fact that the season was a major disappointment. The first of four games against the Oakland A's is Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

"We're obviously disappointed," Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We knew we had a shot and we played pretty well down the stretch until the last week, but this ballclub gave everything it had."

The season was especially hard on Beltre, who missed the first 51 games with a calf injury. He also was out of the lineup earlier this month with a hamstring strain.

"I wasn't able to be on the field enough to help these guys out," he said. "I was able to come back and play well enough to contribute and then had another injury, and I was really disappointed. So, no doubt, you can say it's my most disappointing season."

Texas (76-82) was in the wild-card race until back-to-back sweeps by Oakland and the Houston Astros crushed any playoff hopes. The Rangers' current six-game losing streak is a season high.

The Rangers are also assured of just their second losing record since 2009.

"It is a little weird to get to the final week and there's pretty much no meaning, playing-wise, but that's what it is," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "That's the way the year ended up for us."

The last series does allow for several young players to get additional at-bats, such as rookie Willie Calhoun and Drew Robinson. Calhoun, the key piece coming back to Texas in the Yu Darvish trade, hit his first career home run Wednesday. Robinson has homered in back-to-back games.

"We'll finish up," Rangers manager Jeff Banister. "There's some guys in that clubhouse now that will get some games here at the end."

Texas sends Miguel Gonzalez (8-12, 4.62 ERA) to the mound for the opener. The 27-year-old right-hander is making his fifth start with Texas and 27th start of the year overall.

He is 1-2 with a 7.16 ERA in four starts for the Rangers since being acquired in an Aug. 31 trade with the Chicago White Sox. It is his second straight start against the A's after he took the loss in a 1-0 Texas defeat on Saturday in Oakland. He gave up the one run on four hits in six innings, striking out five without issuing a walk.

Gonzalez has an 0-2 record with a 4.01 ERA in five career appearance, including four starts, against the A's,

Oakland (73-85) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday to close out its home schedule. The A's hit a team-record 129 home runs at Oakland Coliseum this season.

The club has 229 long balls overall after hitting just 169 last year.

"Our ballpark typically is one of the tougher ballparks, but our team's success this year has revolved around the home run," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We need to find other ways to do it, but we do have any number of guys in our lineup that can hit the ball out of the ballpark, and it's been a strength of ours."

A's lefty Sean Manaea (11-10, 4.56 ERA) starts the series opener Thursday. He is 3-5 with a 6.27 ERA and a .346 opponents' batting average over his past 11 starts.

Manaea is 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers, including 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts this year. In his most recent outing against Texas, Manaea allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings during an 8-3 home win on Aug. 26.
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