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Game Thread #86: A's at Astros

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After an 11-15 June, the A's have limped to a 1-5 start in the first 6 games of July. The A's open a 4 game set in Houston this evening. This will be the final series before the All Star break.

Productive veterans high five.
Productive veterans high five.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics enter play this evening with a 36-49 record, which is 4th place in the AL West, a half game ahead of the current cellar dwelling LA Angels and 16.5 games back from the Texas Rangers in both the division and the AL standings.

The A's record is the 4th worst in the AL and 6th worst in the MLB. The A's finished with the 6th worst record in the MLB in 2015.

Despite being just 1-5 in July, the A's do hold a 4-6 record in their last 10 games. The host Houston Astros are 2nd in the AL West at 46-39 and have been coming on, with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. The Astros are currently a half game behind the Boston Red Sox for the 2nd Wild Card in the AL.

Despite the relative places in the standings, the A's do feature a compelling start from lanky lefty Rich Hill, who carries an 8-3 record, 2.31 ERA, 2.72 FIP and 1.11 WHIP into tonight's contest, all stellar marks on the year. After sitting out the month of June with a groin strain, Hill returned last week to pitch 6 quality innings vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. The A's did not win the game, but Hill did strike out 6 in the outing vs. just 4 hits and 2 walks. Hill has struck out 27.8% of the batters he has faced on the season. The lefty represents the player who probably is the most likely to be traded if/when the A's front office decides to sell prior to the deadline.

Houston counters with their own veteran starter who was signed in the offseason in Doug Fister. Fister, too, has had a solid season and carries an 8-5 record, 3.66 ERA, and 1.28 WHIP. His FIP of 4.95 indicates he could be susceptible to some regression, but the crafty veteran has been able to limit damage on the year.

The A's feature a veteran laden lineup tonight and Jake Smolinski gets the rare start vs. a RHP, as 2nd year OF Billy Burns has struggled mightily of late and will be on the bench. Here are the lineups for the two teams:

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S HOUSTON ASTROS
Coco Crisp - CF George Springer - RF
Jed Lowrie - 2B Marwin Gonzalez - 1B
Josh Reddick - RF Jose Altuve - 2B
Danny Valencia - 3B Carlos Correa - SS
Khris Davis - DH Carlos Gomez - CF
Stephen Vogt - C Luis Valbuena - 3B
Marcus Semien - SS Evan Gattis - DH
Yonder Alonso - 1B Jake Marisnick - LF
Jake Smolinski - LF Jason Castro - C
Rich Hill - LHP Doug Fister - RHP

Poll

Favorite part of Rich Hill on the A's

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    That curve!
    (35 votes)
  • 7%
    The nickname "The Bishop"
    (4 votes)
  • 31%
    Trade ideas
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    The peripherals
    (0 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now