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07/28/10 2:46 AM ET

Breakout pitchers Cahill, Lewis face off

He has been in the Majors just two seasons, but A's starter Trevor Cahill has quickly cemented his place in the team's rotation.

After sporting a 10-13 record with a 4.63 ERA in 2009, the right-hander has seen his numbers drop in all the proper categories. He's 9-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 2010, and although the month of July has been a bit of a downer, the 22-year-old still has a 3.74 ERA in five outings this month.

He's completed at least six innings in his past seven starts, while walking just 13 batters during that stretch. Thanks in part to Cahill's pitching -- along with the staff as a whole -- and some timely hitting, the A's were 8-2 in their past 10 games before losing to the Rangers on Tuesday night, 3-1, in 10 innings.

Such was Oakland's recent success that Rangers manager Ron Washington was certainly taking notice on Tuesday.

"[I'm] not surprised," he said of the A's hot play of late. "They've certainly changed their game plan. They're not sitting back waiting for three-run homers anymore. They've got speed at the top of their lineup. They've got a lot more contact hitters in that lineup. The young starting pitching is starting to come into its own, and they've always had a good bullpen. They play a different game now. They're not going any place.

"It should be another intense series. I like playing those kind of games every day. It's a reason to bring the best out of you."

The Rangers have certainly brought their best all season long, currently sitting with the largest divisional lead in the Majors.

A chunk of the Rangers' success can be attributed to Colby Lewis, who will take the mound on Wednesday. Although he's tossed just one scoreless outing this season, the righty has been fairly effective.

In his past eight starts, Lewis has completed 53 total innings with a 3.40 ERA. He's walked just 12 batters during that stretch while striking out 51. All eight of those starts have been at least five innings.

A's: Return of Anderson
Although the A's have been hot of late, they've been winning with a depleted rotation. That could change come Friday.

Pitcher Brett Anderson is expected to return after a successful rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday. Manager Bob Geren said on Sunday that Anderson "felt great" after his outing. Granted, the left-handed Anderson hasn't made a start for the A's since June 3 due to elbow tendinitis, but he did just toss 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball for the River Cats, giving up four hits while striking out nine.

Rangers: Closing time
You may not have noticed it, or even heard about it just yet, but rest assured, if Rangers closer Neftali Feliz keeps up his current pace, you certainly will.

The rookie already has 28 saves on the year -- most in the American League -- and 16 more than the previous Rangers rookie record. Additionally, he's just nine shy of matching the all-time Major League rookie record.

"I'm just trying to do my job," Feliz said. "It's something that they've told me, but I just thank God for the ability to stay healthy and do my job."

His 19 consecutive saves marks the seventh longest streak in Major League history and third longest by a rookie.

Worth noting
The A's haven't lost a day game since June 23. ... Coming into Tuesday, the Rangers had their second-best win-loss record through 99 games in team history.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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