If Dan Straily needs an example of an inexperienced starter establishing some consistency on the mound, the A's right-hander is in luck.
He can just watch Rangers righty Alexi Ogando attempt to stymie his Oakland teammates on Wednesday.
Straily might be pitching on borrowed time, with the A's likely to activate southpaw Brett Anderson from the disabled list in the coming days. For now, however, the A's would like to see the 24-year-old flash signs that he can be depended upon to provide a quality start. In two of his four outings this season, he has surrendered six earned runs. In the other two, he has allowed a combined five earned runs.
"When he's on his game and he's throwing strikes and he's ahead," said A's manager Bob Melvin, "you're seeing a lot of swings and misses, a lot of strikeouts, which you see with him in the Minor Leagues. It's important for him to get ahead and be less predictable."
Straily will take the hill in Wednesday's rubber match. Tuesday's extra-inning loss snapped Oakland's streak of five straight home wins against Texas.
On Wednesday, the A's will have to solve Ogando, who has settled nicely into the Rangers' rotation. Over his last four outings, the 29-year-old has compiled a 1-1 record and 2.92 ERA, relying on a more well-rounded repertoire that includes an enhanced slider and changeup. Now manager Ron Washington would like to see Ogando improve his fastball command to realize his full potential.
"His secondary pitches have progressed tremendously," Washington said. "His fastball is what will make those pitches even better. That's something he's trying to figure out, you have to command your fastball. If he can command his fastball, his secondary stuff will make a tremendous difference.
"I don't think you can be a starting pitcher without secondary stuff. But secondary stuff can't be your primary stuff. We don't want him to be a breaking-ball pitcher, that's there to make the secondary stuff better. That's what we're telling him."
Rangers: No rest for Beltre
Washington has penciled Adrian Beltre's name into his starting lineup every game this season, and the skipper doesn't foresee an end to that ritual in the near future. Following the series in Oakland, the Rangers face the American League Central-leading Tigers.
"I don't see him coming out before then," Washington said. "I can't live with that bat sitting on the bench against [Oakland] and Detroit."
Beltre has started 38 games at third base and one at designated hitter.
A's: Crisp likely to be activated
The A's expect to have Coco Crisp at their disposal Wednesday. He participated in full pregame workouts with Oakland on Tuesday.
Melvin said that Chris Young, however, will "probably not" be activated. He could return Friday, following Thursday's off-day.
"I don't know that he feels that he's 100 percent," Melvin said, "but until we talk to him [Wednesday] and see firsthand how he looks, I'm not really sure."
• Straily has a .206 opponents' average the first time through the lineup, .242 the second time and .389 the third time.