Texas Rangers right-hander Mike Foltynewicz returns to the scene of the best start of his big-league career, one day shy of the fourth anniversary, in the opener a three-game series against the host Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Pitching for the Atlanta Braves at the time, Foltynewicz took a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth on June 30, 2017 in Oakland before Matt Olson worked a nine-pitch at-bat and crushed a home run into the right-field bleachers to lead off the inning.
The Braves held on to win the game 3-1, which still stands as the only time Foltynewicz has defeated the A’s in three career outings, including two starts. He has a 1.88 ERA in those games.
The second of those two starts occurred last week in a 5-3 home win over the A’s. He was pulled after six innings of two-run ball, exiting a 2-2 game and not factoring in the decision.
The teams split that four-game series, with the Rangers now in search of their first four-game winning streak of the season when they open a six-game trip Tuesday.
Right-hander James Kaprielian (4-1, 2.86 ERA), who dueled Foltynewicz (1-7, 5.40) in Texas last week, is scheduled to start for the A’s.
The Rangers, who dropped six in a row before Oakland’s arrival last week, used the split as a springboard into a three-game home sweep of the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. Texas outscored Kansas City 21-5 in the series.
Joey Gallo provided the power in 8-0 and 4-1 victories on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, hitting three home runs, with one that measured 451 feet and another at 445.
“He’s like no other guy I’ve seen,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He hit a breaking ball and a fastball (for homers on Saturday). He’s a really tough out right now.
“Even if you pitch him well, he’s a tough out.”
The A’s limited Gallo to two hits in four games last week, but one was a home run, and he also worked four walks.
A single and one of the walks came in three plate appearances against Kaprielian, who left with a 3-2 lead in the seventh, only to see the Oakland bullpen give up three late runs.
The A’s also had bullpen issues in their just-completed series at San Francisco, a three-game matchup in which the Oakland starters allowed just three runs and eight hits in 19 innings, while the relievers were roughed up for 11 hits and seven runs (six earned) in 7 1/3 innings.
Oakland lost two of three.
“Every team that’s in it is going to be looking for a bullpen arm over the next 35 days,” A’s general manager David Forst said last week. “We’re going to continue to evaluate the club. I think we know where we would hope to make some additions. The bullpen is a place where we need to make sure we have the depth.”
Kaprielian has been steady in four June starts, pitching between five and six innings in each and allowing no more than three runs.
Last week’s start was his first ever against the Rangers, when he gave up two runs over six innings. In three career home outings (two starts), the rookie is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA.
–Field Level Media