Matchup: Colby Lewis-Gio Gonzalez

The Rangers conclude a three-game series at 2:05 this afternoon against their closest competitor in the AL West, the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark. Right-hander Colby Lewis will be opposed by Gio Gonzalez, the fifth consecutive left-handed starter the Rangers have faced.

Here's a brief scouting report:

Lewis (9-10, 3.40 ERA): Victory No. 10 has been elusive for the 31-year-old native Californian, who is 0-5 in his last seven starts despite a 3.33 ERA. On Tuesday, Lewis held the Twins to three runs in 6.1 innings and did not factor in the decision. His last win came on July 16. In Lewis’ last seven starts, the Rangers have scored only 10 runs. This will be his fifth start this season against the A’s. In 10 career appearances against Oakland, Lewis is 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA. His 2010 record against Oakland is 0-2, but his ERA is 2.77 and he’s held the A’s to a .198 batting average. At Rangers Ballpark this season, Lewis is 5-3 with a 3.07 ERA. With runners in scoring position, opponents are batting just .179 against Lewis. He is tied for seventh in the AL in strikeouts with 156.

Gonzalez (11-8, 3.24 ERA):August has been the best month of the season for the 24-year-old Florida native. In his last start, Gonzalez shut out Cleveland for seven innings on five hits for his 11th victory. Prior to that, he limited Toronto to two hits and one run in seven innings, but received no decision. In five starts this month covering 35 innings, Gonzalez has a 1.80 ERA. In three starts against the Rangers this season, Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA. He shut out the Rangers for seven innings in his most recent try, a 6-2 victory in Oakland on Aug. 7. At Rangers Ballpark, Gonzalez is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. A four-inning start in a 10-1 loss at Rangers Ballpark on May 12 matches Gonzalez’ shortest outing of the season.

Hitters: Josh Hamilton and Bengie Molina have hit home runs off Gonzalez. No Rangers have done much hitting for average, however. Jorge Cantu and Julio Borbon are each 1-for-2. Overall, the A’s have hit just .182 against Lewis, but Coco Crisp (2-for-5) has enjoyed the most success. Kurt Suzuki owns the only A’s home run against Lewis and Mark Ellis has three doubles.