Today the A’s look to salvage the final game of this three-game series against the Houston Astros. However, doing so may be extremely tough against the Astros’ potent lineup working alongside the Astros‘ ace, who has proven to be the A‘s very own form of kyrptonite on the mound, Justin Verlander.
Verlander vs. Montas:
Verlander‘s most recent start at the Coliseum was a memorable one, that took place almost five years ago in Game 5 of the 2013 American League Division Series, when he was still a member of the Detroit Tigers. It was a game in which he pitched eight scoreless innings and, much like in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS, shut out the A‘s, officially ending their season for the second straight year.
Frankie Montas will try to keep the Astros‘ powerful lineup under control for the A‘s as he takes on Verlander for his fourth start of the year. He‘s been great so far in 2018, and is currently sitting pretty with a 3-0 record and sub-2.00 ERA. That record and ERA may prove to be hard to maintain today against the Astros, as Montas has been lucky thus far in the opponents he’s faced. While his first win this season came against the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks, they happened to have rolled into town in the midst of a massive skid and his following two starts were both against the Kansas City Royals, who currently occupy the fifth and final spot in the AL Central. He’s had it fairly easy so far and today will be Montas’ first real test of the 2018 season.
Montas has struggled in his first stints in the majors over the last couple seasons. Even though he‘s improved both his control and command of the baseball, it‘s questionable as to whether or not he‘ll be able to keep the A‘s in the game when Houston players, like catcher Evan Gattis, have been crushing A’s pitching this year. Gattis has collected five RBI in each of the first two games in this series.
Facing the AL West
The two biggest challenges in today‘s game for the A‘s will be attempting to score runs at home (something they have had no problem doing outside the, usually friendly, confines of the Coliseum so far this season) and somehow finding a way to play better baseball within their own division. The A‘s are 10-23 when facing teams from the AL West vs having gone 24-11 against everyone else. Despite having the seventh best record in the league, the A‘s are still sitting in fourth place in the AL West and simply have got to learn to defeat the teams within their own division since they have to face each of the other four AL West teams 19 times over the course of the regular season.
And without further ado - here are Today‘s Lineups:
Can the A‘s and Montas take game three of this series or will the Astros leave Oakand with the sweep? Find out soon on MLB Network, today at 12:35 pm.
Let‘s Go Oakland!!