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Game Thread #141: Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros

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The Athletics will make their fourth attempt at getting their 80th win today and hope to avoid losing their third consecutive series for the first time this year as they face the Houston Astros. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm. The magic number is 20 against Detroit to make the postseason, and 21 against Seattle to host the Wild Card game.

Josh Reddick has hit two doubles and three home runs off of Astros starter Scott Feldman, good for a .941 slugging percentage.
Josh Reddick has hit two doubles and three home runs off of Astros starter Scott Feldman, good for a .941 slugging percentage.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Today, a battle of Scotts.

Oakland Athletics left-hander Scott Kazmir (14-7, 3.39) will try to turn the page from his Augustis horribilis where he went 2-4 with a 7.80 ERA in six starts. That figure includes his last start on August 31, where he was charged with six earned runs despite giving up only two hits, thanks to four walks allowed. His 1⅓-inning start was his shortest outing since he was ejected from a game on May 17 by Jerry Layne in Cleveland, also after 1⅓ innings.

The Astros will send right-hander Scott Feldman (8-10, 4.09) against the white-shoed wonders. This will be Feldman's fourth start against the Athletics, all since July 24. In those first three starts, Feldman is 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA, and the Astros lost his other start in the ninth inning on this rally:

Feldman has done well in his last three starts, working on three consecutive quality starts. Feldman tossed a 115-pitch shutout against the Texas Rangers on August 30.

Today's Lineups

Robbie Grossman - LF Coco Crisp - CF
Jose Altuve - 2B Brandon Moss - 1B
Dexter Fowler - CF Josh Donaldson - 3B
Chris Carter - DH Adam Dunn - DH
Matt Dominguez - 3B Derek Norris - C
Jake Marisnick - RF Josh Reddick - RF
Jesus Guzman - 1B Jed Lowrie - SS
Carlos Corporan - C Sam Fuld - LF
Jonathan Villar - SS Eric Sogard - 2B

Two usual suspects for the Astros have done well against Scott Kazmir: (1) Jose Altuve is 8-for-16 with two doubles and two strikeouts and (2) Chris Carter is 5-for-11 with two doubles, two walks, and one strikeout. Carter has not homered off Kazmir, however. Number nine hitter Jonathan Villar is the only current Astro to have performed that feat. Villar is 3-for-8 with a double and a home run, and has struck out twice to Kazmir.

Against Scott Feldman, A's batters Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, and Derek Norris have all found a special penchant to avoid getting out against Feldman. Donaldson is 3-for-11 but has drawn four walks, Lowrie is 6-for-15 with two doubles and a walk, Moss is 4-for-14 with three walks, and Norris is 5-for-10 with a home run and two walks. Josh Reddick is your Scott Feldman slugging champion, however. The right fielder is 5-for-17 with two doubles and three home runs, good for a .941 slugging percentage.

At the Coliseum

A special visit from a special "friend":

Today's patrons receive an Athletics tote bag!

The De La Salle High School Band will perform today's National Anthem. Former DLS football coach Bob Ladouceur will toss the ceremonial first pitch.

Notable notables

From this afternoon's Oakland Athletics game notes (PDF):

  • Since August 9, the A's are 7-17, tied with Cincinnati for worst in the majors.
  • The current three-game home losing streak is just the second home losing streak of the season, when the A's lost six in a row at home between April 21 to May 7. The A's are 1-3 on this six-game homestand, and have not had a losing record on a homestand since August 13-21, 2013 when they went 4-5. They must win the next two games to avoid a losing home stand.
  • Six of the A's last eight losses have been by two runs or fewer. The A's are 27-32 in games decided by two runs or fewer compared to 52-29 in games decided by three runs or more.
  • The A's bullpen has a 2.19 ERA and .195 opponents batting average over its last 38 games (since July 24). They have issued only 109 walks, averaging 2.36 walks per nine innings. Both are MLB-leading figures. The 2.36 BB/9 would be the lowest in franchise history since at least 1914. The 1944 club allowed 2.49 walks per nine innings.
  • Hitting streaks: Callaspo 1 game, Crisp 1, Dunn 4, Freiman 1, Lowrie 2, Norris 1.

First pitch is listed as 1:05 pm Pacific Time. Let's get some runs!