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Game Thread #72: A's vs. Astros

Tonight will produce a good pitching matchup as the A's Sean Manaea (who hasn't lost since May 15th) goes against the Astros, Mike Fiers (3-0 in his last 4 starts).

Manaea is 5-0 in his last 6 starts
Manaea is 5-0 in his last 6 starts
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The first 71 games of the 2017 Oakland A's season have produced thrilling moments (was I dreaming or did the green and gold really sweep the Yankees this past weekend?!) and "evenings of despair" (watching our beloved #22, Josh Reddick, get on base 3 times last night for the opposing and first place Astros immediately comes to mind).

Let's be honest, we may have way more "evenings of despair" than thrilling moments as the rest the 2017 campaign unfolds, but cheer up my fellow brothers and sisters of A's Nation, this season is giving us some hopeful glimpes into the future of a team that could be special for years to come. At the top of my hopeful list is tonight's starting pitcher, Sean Manaea.

Manaea comes into tonight's game, 5-0 in his last 6 starts and with a win tonight, could be moving himself into at least being in the conversation of AL starting pitchers who deserve an All-Star nod.

Mike Selleck and the crew in the A's media relations department do an outstanding job of putting together nightly game notes for the media and here are a couple of great stats from today's Athletics gamenotes on Manaea for us to keep in mind as we watch tonight's game.

1. Manaea Has Been on a Streak of Historic Proportions- Manaea allowed five hits or fewer in each of his first 10 2017 starts (streak was broken in his last start against the Yankees), giving him a streak of 16 consecutive games dating back to last year with five hits or fewer and two innings pitched or more from Aug. 23, 2016 to June 5, 2017…This streak is tied for the third longest such streak by a Major League pitcher since at least 1913! (which by the way, did you know the A's won the world series in 1913?!)

2. The Big Lefty Pitches Well Against the Astros - Manaea has started 5 games against the Astros between last year and this year and owns a 1.71 ERA (26 1/3 innings, 5 earned runs). Ironically, the Astros were very serious about drafting Manaea 1st overall in the 2013 MLB Draft , but choose Stanford's Mark Appell instead (who was later traded for Astros current closer, Ken Giles).

3. Lefthanded Batters are Hopeless Against the former Indiana State "Sycamore Sam" - Lefty hitters are hitting .105 (5 for 46) against Manaea in 2017. This is Randy Johnson type domination and ranks him 2nd in baseball vs. Lefties (Astros Dallas Keuchel is 1st with a .100 avg.). Unfortunately, the Astros only have two lefthanded bats in tonight's line-up, in Nori Aoki and Brian McCann.

Here is the rest of tonight's starting line-ups for both the A's and the Astros:

Today's Lineups

George Springer - RF Matt Joyce - RF
Jose Altuve - 2B Chad Pinder - SS
Carlos Correa - SS Jed Lowrie - 2B
Evan Gattis - DH Khris Davis - DH
Brian McCann - C Yonder Alonso - 1B
Yulieski Gurriel - 1B Ryon Healy - 3B
Alex Bregman - 3B Jaycob Brugman - CF
Jake Marisnick - CF Rajai Davis - LF
Norichika Aoki - LF Josh Phegley - C
Mike Fiers - RHP Sean Manaea - LHP
For the love of Falcon Mcfalconface, let's bounce the annoyingly good 'Stros tonight!!!