Featured Video from Scott Steehn
Oakland and Houston wrap up their series on Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. The Astros have regained the top spot in the AL West with winning seven of their last eight games. The A’s remain in the hunt by winning five of their last seven.
A’s blow remarkable comeback against Astros
Oakland’s pitching was on a tear in their recent three-game winning streak, allowing just three runs in that stretch — and it all came in one game. They recorded back-to-back shutouts against Cleveland and Houston, two of the better teams in the AL. They weren’t able to keep that trend going in the prior game, falling to the Astros 6-5. The A’s actually had a remarkable comeback in the ninth inning, tying the game after being down by four, but lost it in extras.
Probable starter: Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.77 ERA)
Cahill will make his return after not making a start since June 2nd against Kansas City. He’s been dealing with a strained right Achilles injury, but he should finally be good to go. He left off with three straight no-decisions and the team fell in his last four outings.
Bregman nears 20-home run plateau with wild victory on Tuesday
Houston was able to survive their most recent game against Houston that probably shouldn’t have gone into extras anyway. The top of the order was strong, and the reliable third baseman Alex Bregman (.282 avg) launched two home runs in the contest. First baseman Marwin Gonzalez (.227 avg) exited Tuesday’s game early with a hurt left wrist and elbow, and he’s questionable to return in this series.
Probable starter: Right-hander Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.83 ERA)
Morton saw a three-game winning streak fall in Tampa Bay and probably should have been handed another loss on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. He gave up five earned runs over 5.2 innings, but the offense backed him up and the Astros ended up winning 12-6.
- 1-4 in Cahill’s last 5 starts against teams with a winning record
- 5-16 in their last 21 against AL West teams
- 10-1 in their last 11 Thursday games
- 6-1 in Morton’s last 7 home starts
Morton gave up a lot of runs by his standards last time out, but he’s been on the money with his pitches — over his last three starts, he has a ratio of 32 strikeouts to 6 walks. He should be able to stave off Oakland and give Houston another big win.
Outside of blowing out the Chicago White Sox a few times, Houston’s scoring has been meager lately. It’s a bit difficult to judge Oakland, which routinely gets four to six runs per game, but we’ll assume that a solid pitching duel keeps the runs minimal here.
- Under is 7-3-2 in A’s last 12
- Under is 11-4 in Morton’s last 15 home starts