A home-run exhibition is taking place in the Texas Rangers-Oakland Athletics series in Arlington, Texas.
Rangers shortstop Corey Seager has homered in five straight games, but A’s outfielder Chad Pinder isn’t being outdone.
Pinder hit a grand slam during an eight-run 12th inning of Oakland’s 14-7 win on Tuesday, one day after he connected on a three-run homer in Texas’ 10-8 victory.
The Seager-Pinder home-run watch will continue on Wednesday night in the series finale at Globe Life Field.
Pinder is 2-for-8 with seven RBIs in the series, and Seager has gone deep in six of his last seven games.
“They can’t defend a ball that goes in the seats,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told MLB.com this week. “It just seems like every at-bat (with Seager). I guess I’ve seen him a lot, but no matter how good or bad he may look, every time he steps in the batter’s box, I think he’s going to hit one 110 mph.
“I’m not really surprised by the success he has. He’s as consistent of a performer as I’ve been around as far as just the mindset and the mentality. It’s a special at-bat every night.”
Wednesday’s starters will look to keep the ball in the park.
The A’s will go with right-hander Paul Blackburn (6-4, 3.36 ERA), who was selected for the American League All-Star team.
Texas will start right-hander Jon Gray (5-4, 4.03), who is 4-1 in his last five starts.
Blackburn has emerged as the A’s ace, and his journey to becoming an All-Star is a product of perseverance. In his first five seasons, the 28-year-old struggled with a 5.74 ERA, and he was designated for assignment in February 2021.
“I’m just kind of at a loss for words,” Blackburn told the media on Sunday after the All-Star rosters were announced. “The journey that it’s taken to get here has been incredible. … I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to play in a big league All-Star Game. It’s incredible.”
Blackburn broke in with the A’s in 2017 and enjoyed a solid rookie season, posting a 3-1 record and 3.22 ERA in 10 starts. But in 2018, he had a 7.16 ERA in six starts and missed substantial time after undergoing right-forearm surgery.
In 2021, Blackburn made nine starts and posted a 1-4 record with a 5.87 ERA.
“He’s dealt with a lot of adversity throughout his career,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay told MLB.com. “He’s had to have the mindset to battle back. The word I used for him is grit. The determination and perseverance that it’s taken to continue his path and believe in it. He should feel really rewarded.”
Blackburn doesn’t have much history facing the Rangers, but when he has, the outcomes haven’t gone his way. In 7 2/3 innings over three appearances (two starts), he is 0-1 with a bloated 12.91 ERA.
Like Blackburn, Gray doesn’t have much history with his opponent. The 30-year-old will face the Athletics for the third time in his career, and he’s 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in 8 1/3 innings against them.
In his first season with the Rangers, Gray is 3-0 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts at home.
— Field Level Media