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Game Thread #15: A's vs. Astros

Oakland and Houston do battle at 7:05 PM at the Coliseum. A.J. Griffin gets the nod for the A's, while the Astros send former Oakland farmhand Brad Peacock to the mound. He'll try and put a stop to an A's offense that has put up 34 runs in four games against Houston this season.

A.J. Griffin is looking to stay perfect and improve his record to 3-0 tonight. He has a good shot against Houston.
A.J. Griffin is looking to stay perfect and improve his record to 3-0 tonight. He has a good shot against Houston.

Tonight, the A's go for five straight against the lowly Houston Astros, whose 4-9 mark early in the season puts them in a tie with the Angels for last place in the AL West. On the other hand, the A's and their 10-4 record are sitting pretty in first place, 1.5 games ahead of Texas.

A.J. Griffin is Oakland's starting pitcher, and he's looked good so far this year: 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA. He's coming off a gem in which he held the Angels to just one run on five hits, pitching eight complete innings. With Jarrod Parker and Brett Anderson struggling a little bit lately, Griffin's success is a comforting sign for A's fans.

Brad Peacock, on the other hand, is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA, and the A's have already beaten him this season — Dan Straily got the win in that game, an 8-3 Oakland victory on April 5 at Minute Maid Park. Peacock was expected to start this year at AAA-Sacramento before being traded to Houston, where he joined their regular rotation to start the season. That should give you a pretty clear picture of where the Astros are as an organization — a few of their starters would be playing in AAA in almost any other system.

Today's biggest news item is the birth of Brandon Moss' second child. Moss was placed on paternity leave, which gives him up to 72 hours to spend with the newborn, and his wife Allison. So best wishes to the Moss family — luckily for the A's, the baby was born in the middle of a series against Houston and not Texas or Detroit. Not that it would've mattered against the Tigers.

To fill Moss' shoes, the A's have called up left-handed OF/1B Shane Peterson from the River Cats, and he is making his MLB debut tonight, hitting eighth and playing first base. In 11 games with Sacramento, Peterson is hitting .410, so the call-up seems well timed. Interestingly, he faces his former River Cat teammate, in Peacock.

Bob Melvin is stacking the Oakland lineup with left-handed hitters against Peacock, a righty. Only left fielder Chris Young and third baseman Josh Donaldson will hit right-handed tonight, as the rest of the lineup is comprised of five true lefties and two switch hitters. In addition to losing Moss because of that whole "being a parent" thing, the A's are still without star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who is just a few days into a stint on the 15-day DL for a sprained muscle in his left hand.

Oakland has warmed up a bit since last night — look for game time temperatures around 61 degrees, dropping into the low 50s later in the game.

Hopefully tonight's game is competitive for more than 20 minutes — it's not that I don't want the A's to win, or win big, I just don't like boring baseball. Regardless, I'll be here all night.


Also, this is cool:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>As a tribute to Boston, the <a href="">#Athletics</a> will play "Sweet Caroline" in the mid 8th during tonight's game.</p>— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) <a href="">April 17, 2013</a></blockquote>

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