Thursday, April 9, 2015

A's Graveman looks to make a splash vs. Rangers

Two pitchers who emerged victorious in their Spring Training rotation competitions will face off when the Rangers and the Athletics close out their four-game series with an afternoon game Thursday at the O.co Coliseum.
Right-hander Nick Martinez will be on the mound for the Rangers against rookie right-hander Kendall Graveman for the Athletics, who lead the series, 2-1. This will be first Major League start for Graveman, who was one of four players acquired from the Blue Jays in the offseason trade of Josh Donaldson. An eighth-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2013, he won a job in Spring Training with a 0.36 ERA in six starts.
Martinez is trying to continue his strong finish from 2014, when he went 2-2 with a 2.29 ERA over his last six starts.
Things to watch:
• This will be the second time in four games Rangers hitters will be facing a pitcher they have never seen in a regular-season game. That was the case on Tuesday against Jesse Hahn.
• Despite having a losing record overall, the Rangers were 25-19 in day games in 2014. Their .568 winning percentage was the fourth best in the American League. The Athletics were fifth. They went 32-26 with a .552 winning percentage.
• Sam Fuld, who was 4-for-8 with two triples in the Athletics' first two games, should be back at the top of the lineup with a right-hander pitching for the Rangers. Fuld, who was not in the lineup on Wednesday against lefty Ross Detwiler, is 1-for-3 with a triple off Martinez in his career.

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