Oakland A’s (53-69 SU, 62-60 RL, 66-52-4 O/U) vs. Houston Astros (75-47 SU, 64-58 RL, 63-51-8 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, August 20, 2017, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 2:10 pm ET
Lines: Houston -203, Oakland +188; Over/Under: 10
It’s the conclusion of a three game set between a pair of AL West rivals in the Lone Star State. The Oakland A’s play the final game of three against the Houston Astros, who have the best record in the American League, Sunday afternoon. Houston won a pitchers’ duel Friday night, taking the opener by a 3-1 score. The pitching matchup for the middle game of the series Saturday night saw Kendall Graveman pitch for the A’s against Houston’s Collin McHugh. First pitch in the contest was set for 7:10 pm ET.
Oakland A’s Fishing for Upset Wins
Oakland, as is typical of most last place teams, are trying to steal wins where they can get them. The A’s got solid pitching in the opener but the bats couldn’t generate enough offense to back it up. Matt Joyce (run, RBI) had two of Oakland’s five hits in the game, including his 18th homer of the season to account for the lone run for the team. Matt Chapman, Ryon Healy and Bruce Maxwell had the other hits for the A’s in the loss. Sean Manaea (8-8) took the loss on the mound as he threw six innings, allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Jharel Cotton makes his 19th start of the season for Oakland in this contest. He is 5-10 with a 5.83 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, 42 walks and 80 strikeouts over 97.1 innings of work. Cotton saw his winless streak extend to five starts as he took the loss his last time out, which was Monday at home against the Royals. He threw six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts in a 6-2 Oakland loss. Cotton is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA, a 1.65 WHIP, five walks and eight strikeouts over 17 innings in his last three starts. He makes his third career start against the Astros in this contest: he is 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.258 WHIP over 10.1 innings of work. Cotton lost his lone career start at Minute Maid Park, which came April 28. He allowed six runs (three earned) on 10 hits with one walk and four strikeouts in a 9-4 Oakland defeat.
Houston Astros Trying to Stay Sharp
Houston has had their struggles since the All Star break but their big lead allows them a little flexibility with results. The Astros did manage to come up with the victory in the opener of this series behind their ace. Jose Altuve (run, RBI), Yuli Guerriel (run) and Josh Reddick (RBI) each had two hits for the Astros. Altuve (his 19th) and Alex Bregman (his 14th) each hit solo homers in the third inning. Dallas Keuchel (11-2) picked up the win with seven shutout frames: he gave up three hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Ken Giles threw 1.2 scoreless frames, striking out three, for his 24th save.
Brad Peacock takes the mound for his 28th appearance and 15th start of the season for the Astros in this contest. He is 10-1 with a 3.30 ERA, a 1.284 WHIP, 45 walks and 121 strikeouts over 92.2 innings of work this year. Peacock recorded a no-decision in his last outing, which was a start Tuesday on the road against Arizona. He threw 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in an eventual 9-4 Astros win. Peacock is 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP, four walks and 20 strikeouts over 17 innings of work in his last three starts. He is 3-4 with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.551 WHIP over 59.1 innings in his 14 career appearances, 11 starts, against the A’s. Peacock is 8-9 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.476 WHIP over 42 appearances, 29 starts, totaling 168 innings at Minute Maid Park in his career.
- Athletics are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a right-handed starter
- Athletics are 1-5 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record
- Astros are 6-2 in their last 8 Sunday games
- Astros are 12-4 in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
The A’s continue to show the issues that most young teams do: they only put together a solid performance in one facet of the game most days. They either hit and don’t pitch or pitch and don’t hit. We saw that happen Friday night as Manaea turned in his best start in a few weeks but there was no offense to speak of. Houston is just clicking regular season games off the schedule as they wait for the postseason and hope to be healthy when that time comes. Peacock has been solid this season: look for him to get win number 11 as the Astros take the finale.