Coming off a 3-game sweep of of the MLB-cellar Orioles (who scored 5 runs total across the series), and setting a franchise pitching record for series (40), things are looking mighty good for the A’s on the pitching end.
However, from a batting standpoint, they’ll need to pick things up. Over the last 5 games, the team batted just .194, but was able to squeak out wins thanks to the stellar pitching. With the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays on deck, .194 is not going to cut it.
Brett Anderson will take the mound tonight for his second start back with the Big League team, after throwing it back to 2010 with solid 6.1 innings of 5-hit and 2-run ball last week. Only Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen were used in relief yesterday, so should things go more like 2013, there will be plenty of arms available.
Former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel is slated to start for the Astros. In some alternate universe, this pitching matchup would have been a headliner.
Keuchel is 1-5 (that’s as many losses as he earned all of last year, for what it’s worth) with a 3.98 ERA so far this year, and Anderson is a wild card. Granted, the Astros only put up 1 run each of his first four losses. The obvious weakness for the A’s lineup to exploit has been his home run rate: Keuchel has allowed eight in 43 innings this year after giving up 15 in 143.2 innings last year. For the A’s, who rank in the top third of the MLB in homers, this bodes well.
|HOUSTON ASTROS||OAKLAND A'S|
|George Springer - CF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Jose Altuve - 2B||Chad Pinder - RF|
|Carlos Correa - SS||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Yulieski Gurriel - 1B||Khris Davis - DH|
|Alex Bregman - 3B||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Marwin Gonzalez - LF||Matt Olson - 1B|
|Evan Gattis - DH||Mark Canha - LF|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Jonathan Lucroy - C|
|Max Stassi - C||Jake Smolinski - CF|
|Dallas Keuchel - LHP||Brett Anderson - LHP|