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Game Thread #113: Athletics vs. Astros

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The A's lead the Astros 2-1 in this series. Closing out the series today is Chris Bassitt who is going for his second consecutive win. In six starts this season, Bassitt has a WHIP of 1.09 and an ERA of 2.64. Astro's All-Star José Altuve has a 19 game hitting streak at O.co that Bassitt and the pen will be trying to ruin.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Eclectic, pre-game rambling...Here we go:

1. I am a fan of José Altuve—aka Gigante. He's 5'5" in the press book (which no doubt means 5'4" or even 5'3"), and he defies the strength gods with his compact power and control. Magnificent. Great defensive range. Consistent bat with a current batting average of .298, 12th best in the American League, dropping from 10th yesterday when Manny Machado went 4 for 5 and Ian Kinsler went 3 for 4. We do need to hold Altuve hitless today to stop his 19 game hitting-streak here at O.co. Fan or no fan, we just can't let José continue to do that to us!

2. Danny Valencia: Starts off Saturday with a 278 foot double that scores two and draws first blood. This, after taking Dallas Keuchel deep Friday night as he went 2-3 with an RBI and a walk. Saturday: His second multi-hit game. Him. His bat. Nice. Danny: You're keeping baseball fun. [As an aside, how nice for Toronto that life is so good and their roster is so deep that they had to DFA Valencia. Even nicer is the fact that we got him for a mere $20,000 claim fee. If you haven't already read it, see more Danny details in Jeremy Koo's comprehensive article from August 3rd.]

3. Vogt: Yes, I believe in Stephen Vogt, yet his bat is F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G! I know he hit a homer Thursday night, his 15th, but that was the 2nd in 30 games. Yesterday: Pop-up to second, swinging strikeout, liner to left. Zilch. Nada. Didn't even make the ‘Stros work for it. Vogt is batting .136 in the last 7 games, .120 in the last 15 and .165 in the last 30. I know we are supposed to give catchers some slack. They work hard behind the plate. Get tired—beat up even. Lots of wear and tear. If they bat .270, most people are happy. However, Vogt going .165 in 30 games does NOT make for happy! Everything Bagel needs to find a way to schmear that red-stitched, 9 inch leather all over the field! [I know, I know, he has 60 RBI's, and OBP of .337 and 15 doubles. But imagine what that would be if he was batting .285 or .290! And either way, the last 30 days of batting just HAS to reverse and climb. Just proves I DO believe in Stephen Vogt with these expectations!]

[And don't even get me started on Country Breakfast-Billy Butler and his .239 BA (Eric Sogard: .246); SLG of.366 (Sogard: .283); and an OBP of only .306 (Sogard: .291 though career to-date is .295). As a second aside: I'm using Sogard because I think people don't give him his due. Sometime I'm going to make a case for him in writing and OBP is a start.]

4. Pitching: There's a lot to be said for our starting pitching right now (although I agree with Duncan Morrow that Jesse Chavez needs to be in the pen in 2016). Collectively in this series we've amassed (sarcasm) a whopping 1.17 ERA on 3 earned runs. Closing out the series today is Chris Bassitt who is going for his second consecutive win. In six starts this season, Bassitt has a WHIP of 1.09 and an ERA of 2.64. His last start against Baltimore on Tuesday included 7 innings of shutout ball with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts for his first win of the season. Repeat performance, please, Chris!

5. Finally, since this is an eclectic rambling, maybe we could end the "Cahna" chants and get something going with Bassitt. That Bassitt name evokes a lot of possibilities, and I'm really sick of hearing the "Cahna get a hit" type chants. [And for the record, the PEEEEETS-ZAAAaa guy STILL drives me nuts!]

That's it for now, A's fans. Here is our starting lineup. Vamos Atléticos!

Today's Lineups

HOUSTON ASTROS OAKLAND A'S
Jose Altuve - 2B Billy Burns - CF
Preston Tucker - LF Coco Crisp - LF
Carlos Correa - SS Josh Reddick - RF
Carlos Gomez - CF Danny Valencia - 3B
Jed Lowrie - 3B Stephen Vogt - DH
Colby Rasmus - RF Brett Lawrie - 2B
Luis Valbuena - 1B Ike Davis - 1B
Chris Carter - DH Josh Phegley - C
Jason Castro - C Marcus Semien - SS
Mike Fiers - RHP Chris Bassitt - RHP