The oh-so-invigorating loss to the Astros last night pushed the Astros to a 69-62 record, giving them more wins in this season, with all of September+ still to play, than the A's had all of last year and are just barely on pace for this year. Meanwhile, the A's dropped into a tie for last place in the AL West once again with the Angels as the dramatic run to the bottom of the division has yet another twist. With the Astros just a couple of Altuve's away from a wild card game spot, and the A's (probably) trying to avoid being in last place, both teams have something to play for in tonight's game and will look to be putting their best feet forward (apart from Max Muncy starting at second base).
With Sean Manaea going down with what is hopefully just a minor back injury that doesn't result in any loss of playing time, Kendall Graveman has fully emerged as the team's most dependable starter at this current point in time. Like the energizer bunny emerging from a desolate and dark trench on a World War I battlefield, Graveman just keeps on pitching and pitching, growing seemingly more effective with each and every start even as all of his compatriots are dropping like flies around him. Since adjusting his repertoire Graveman has been much more effective at limiting home runs and inducing more ground balls, which ideally will match up very well against a home run happy Astros ballclub. Opposing Graveman tonight will be Collin McHugh.
Absent from the clubhouse tonight is Coco Crisp, who waived his 10-and-5 rights to allow the A's to negotiate a trade with the Cleveland Indians', Coco's original team. There are currently no details, but it appears that it is all but finalized that the longest tenured Athletic has already played his last game with the team, and the debate surrounding Coco's vest will come to a rest. I can attest it's for the best, no jest.
Tonight's contest begins at 5:10 Pacific. Lineups are below.
|OAKLAND A'S||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Marcus Semien - SS||George Springer - RF|
|Danny Valencia - RF||Alex Bregman - 3B|
|Stephen Vogt - C||Jose Altuve - 2B|
|Khris Davis - DH||Carlos Correa - SS|
|Ryon Healy - 3B||Evan Gattis - DH|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Colby Rasmus - LF|
|Jake Smolinski - CF||Marwin Gonzalez - 1B|
|Max Muncy - 2B||Jason Castro - C|
|Brett Eibner - LF||Jake Marisnick - CF|
|Kendall Graveman - RHP||Collin McHugh - RHP|