When and where: April 17, 2019, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA, 10:07 PM ET
The Oakland Athletics continue their quest for revenge on Wednesday after losing their first three-game series with the Houston Astros earlier in the season. However, it’ll come with the challenge of stopping an Astros team that has already defeated three of the league’s best ball clubs consecutively. Wade Miley is expected to get the start on the mound for the Astros opposite of Oakland’s Frankie Montas.
Astros changing the narrative
It wasn’t too long ago when the Astros were fielding doom and gloom questions after an ugly 2-5 start to the season. Some actually even went as far as pondering if this was going to be a letdown season for the ball club that took the AL West and won 103 games in 2018. Fast forward a few weeks, and the Astros are back on top of the division and riding an eight-game win streak with the sports world now pondering whether this will be another 100-win season.
How quickly things change.
While at their prematurely perceived low point, the Astros responded by going unbeaten on a six-game home stretch against the A’s and New York Yankees. Then they crushed the Seattle Mariners’ hype by sweeping them on the road and taking back the division.
In the series finale, Gerrit Cole (3.24 ERA) shined on the mound by retiring 11 batters in six innings, while only allowing four hits and two runs. More importantly, however, the bullpen came on and closed the deal against one of the best hitting teams in the league.
“Our whole bullpen is really good,” Cole said after the game, per ESPN.com. “They’re not afraid to pitch in leverage or clean up your mess. As starters, we just try to minimize their workload as best we can.”
One thing is certain: there isn’t a team in the league looking forward to playing against the Astros’ terrifying rotation.
A’s come up short after rain delay
The A’s had some extra free time on Saturday when their originally scheduled Game 2 meeting against the Rangers was cancelled due to rain. After a day off, they got back to work on Sunday in hopes of taking a two-game win in the series.
They left Arlington later that night with a two-game split and their first loss in four games.
The outcome wasn’t half as bad as the journey to the 8-7 road loss, which was highlighted by a four-run comeback in the eighth inning that ultimately won the game for the Rangers. It seemed like a done deal as the A’s piled on seven runs in the first four innings. Then came the painful meltdown by reliever Joakim Soria, who gave up three hits and four runs to put the Rangers back ahead by one point.
It was a huge momentum killer, and the A’s were never able to recover. However, all of the blame can’t be heaped on Soria’s shoulders considering the bats went cold in the last five innings. After that initial explosion, which was spearheaded by back-to-back inning homers by Stephen Piscotty and Matt Chapman, they failed to score a single run.
- Athletics are 1-4 in Montas’ last 5 starts against teams with a winning record
- Athletics are 1-4 in their last 5 games against teams in the American League West
- Athletics are 2-7 in last 9 head-to-head meetings with the Astros in Oakland
- Astros are 47-18 in their last 65 during game 2 of a series
- Astros are 36-15 in their last 51 games
- Astros are 45-19 in their last 64 road games
- Astros are 53-23 in their last 76 Wednesday games