The A’s and Astros have squared off quite a bit already this year, and, by and large, things haven’t gotten swimmingly for Oakland. The A’s are 2-9 against their division rivals in 2019, which is a big part of the reason that the Astros are 9.5 games ahead of the A’s in the standings. That, and the Astros ability to completely shred apart teams that are below .500.
Oakland was in striking distance of Houston earlier this summer, though at this point in the season a run at a division title probably isn’t realistic. The Astros’ lead in the division has only been increasing, the team is healthier than the A’s and getting healthier, and their schedule the rest of the way is a little more forgiving. Also, the Astros made some very major additions at the trade deadline that the A’s simply could not afford to make.
While modest acquisitions like Tanner Roark and Homer Bailey are generally fine, they pale in comparison to the additions of Zach Greinke and Aaron Sanchez. Greinke spent quite some time in the AL West before, back when he was pitching for the Angels, but the notoriously studious ace has become a better and smarter pitcher since then, even with age slowly starting to sap his pitching gift. The Astros paid a lion’s share to acquire Greinke, but in being able to add Greinke to a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Wade Miley, there is no way Houston could pass up that opportunity.
Plus, not for nothing, Aaron Sanchez went from losing his last thirteen decisions with the Blue Jays, a record, to being a part of a combined no hitter in his first start with his new team. Light-hitting A’s killer Martin Maldonado is also back with Houston for the playoff push, in exchange for a different light-hitting A’s killer in Tony Kemp.
Since the Astros impressive 23-2 throttling of the Orioles over the weekend, they have been scuffling a bit. The team dropped the final game in Baltimore, then dropped the second game of a day-night doubleheader in Chicago before giving up 13 runs and losing yesterday as well. The Astros are now also in a stretch of baseball wherein they won’t have a day off until Monday the 26th of August.
Having needed to use a lot of pitchers to get through three games in the last two days in Chicago, and needing to conserve their pitching staff for the long stretch ahead, this series provides the A’s a unique chance to really wreak havoc on the Astros pitching staff that will have a lasting impact.
But, mostly, wins would be nice. The A’s haven’t gotten enough of them against Houston this year.
George Springer - CF
Jose Altuve - 2B
Michael Brantley - LF
Alex Bregman - 3B
Yordan Alvarez - DH
Carlos Correa - SS
Yuli Gurriel - 1B
Robinson Chirinos - C
Josh Reddick - RF
Mike Fiers vs Aaron Sanchez
Tanner Roark vs Justin Verlander
Chris Bassitt vs TBD
Brett Anderson vs Zack Greinke
Game #122: Thursday, August 15th at 7:07
Game #123: Friday, August 16th at 7:07
Game #124: Saturday, August 17th at 1:05
Game #125: Sunday, August 18th at 1:07
Game #124 will be broadcast on FS1. All other games will be broadcast on NBCSCA