(OAKLAND) -- Bartolo Colon still has not won a game now since July 26, and the Oakland Athletics need him to pitch like the All-Star he was named this season if they want to win the American League West in 2013.
The A's big righty was his own worst enemy on Tuesday, as Oakland dropped a 5-1 decision to the Texas Rangers to fall one game back again in the division standings. Colon gave up eight hits in five innings, and his costly error in the fifth inning opened the floodgates for three unearned runs for the opponent.
Meanwhile, the Oakland lineup went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, almost a reverse of Monday's A's win where the Texas hitters went 0-for-9 in the same situations.
So consider the first two games of this three-game series a wash, and today's "rubber match" features an impressive pitching duel: Jarrod Parker (10-6, 3.59 ERA) for Oakland against Yu Darvish (12-6, 2.73 ERA) for Texas.
Parker hasn't lost since May 22 against these same Rangers, going 8-0 with a 2.57 ERA over 17 starts in that three months-plus span. Meanwhile, Darvish has a 5.18 ERA in his last four starts against the A's.
Game time today is 12:35 p.m., and the postseason implications are interesting.
Texas holds a one-game edge in the AL West, while Oakland is now in the top AL wild-card spot -- the A's are 2.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay for the second wild-card slot, and they are five games in front of the charging New York Yankees, as well.
Oakland (79-59) hit a season-high 21 games over .500 after Monday's win at the Coliseum, and they will be looking to match that again today with a win over the Rangers and Darvish.
After today's matinee, the A's next host the Houston Astros (45-93) for four games this weekend, starting Thursday. This begins the seemingly "easy" stretch for the Oakland club as they close the regular season with 20 games out of 23 left on the schedule against teams under .500 on the year.
Those lone three games against a winning team? The A's return series in Texas against the Rangers on September 13-15.