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Oakland A’s Series Preview #11: Astros host rematch after getting swept at Coliseum

Alex Cintron will not be in the building (during the games)

Colorado Rockies v Houston Astros
The one Astro you can’t hate
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s still have the best record in the American League at 22-10, and that gives them a 4.5-game lead in the AL West. After taking a day off Thursday, they’ll now square off against the team chasing them in the division standings, the Houston Astros.

Houston Astros

  • 2020 record: 17-14

It hasn’t been a great year for the Astros. Everybody outside of Houston hates them because they cheated and then received scant punishment and showed zero remorse when caught. They lost their best pitcher via free agency. Now their injured list contains half of a legitimately contending roster on its own, with 11 players including the reigning Cy Young, the reigning Rookie of the Year, the reigning runner-up MVP, their star closer, another former All-Star reliever, and several more quality names.

And yet, if the season ended today they’d make the playoffs, thanks to the expanded postseason field that would rank them as the fifth seed (second-best second-place team). They still have a star-studded lineup, an ace atop the rotation, and strikeouts throughout the bullpen.

They also have something to prove this weekend. When they visited the Coliseum earlier in August, they were swept out of the building in three games, and then embarrassed themselves on the way out the door when one of their coaches picked a fight with Ramon Laureano. That coach, Alex Cintron, was suspended for 20 games and won’t be back until September — though he’s still allowed to participate before games, calling into question what exactly is the point of suspending a hitting coach.

Projected lineup

  • CF George Springer (R)
  • 2B Jose Altuve (R)
  • LF Michael Brantley (L)
  • 1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
  • DH Kyle Tucker (L)
  • SS Carlos Correa (R)
  • RF Josh Reddick (L)
  • C Martin Maldonado (R)
  • 3B Jack Mayfield (R)

Even without Alex Bregman (pulled hammy) and Yordan Alvarez (knee, out for year), there are still several stars in this group. Mayfield hasn’t done much yet, so perhaps there’s finally a weak spot — although, last time we said that about an Astros lineup, it was Tony Kemp and he still managed to burn Oakland frequently.

Starting pitchers

These are the three expected starters:

  • Fri: Lance McCullers (R) vs. Chris Bassitt (6:10 p.m.)
  • Sat: Zack Greinke (R) vs. Frankie Montas (4:10 p.m.)
  • Sun: Framber Valdez (L) vs. Jesús Luzardo (11:10 a.m.)

There’s a 60% chance of pulling Greinke in a three-game series, and the A’s hit that unfortunate jackpot. No matter, Oakland found a way to win his start last time, even if it took 13 innings.

This will be our first look at McCullers since 2018, after he missed ‘19 to Tommy John surgery. He has a 5.74 ERA and leads the majors in hitting batters with pitches, so, this should be interesting.

Valdez was excellent against the A’s last time, striking out nine, but still took a tough loss in a 3-1 game.


Here’s the Astros’ full 28-man roster:

Houston Astros 28-man roster
Pitchers Hitters

Zack Greinke (R)
Lance McCullers (R)
Framber Valdez (L)
Cristian Javier (R)
Brandon Bielak (R)


Ryan Pressly (R)
Joe Biagini (R)
Chase De Jong (R)
Enoli Paredes (R)
Cionel Perez (L)
Brooks Raley (L)
Andre Scrubb (R)
Cy Sneed (R)
Blake Taylor (L)

Martin Maldonado (R)
Dustin Garneau (R)
Garrett Stubbs (L)


Yuli Gurriel (R)
Jose Altuve (R)
Carlos Correa (R)
Jack Mayfield (R)
Abraham Toro (S)
Taylor Jones (R)


Michael Brantley (L)
Josh Reddick (L)
George Springer (R)
Myles Straw (R)
Kyle Tucker (L)

10-day IL: RHP Rogelio Armenteros (elbow), RHP Jose Urquidy (undisclosed), RHP Justin Verlander (forearm), RHP Chris Devenski (elbow), RHP Josh James (hip), RHP Roberto Osuna (elbow), RHP Brad Peacock (shoulder), 3B Alex Bregman (hamstring), IF Aledmys Diaz (groin)

45-day IL: RHP Austin Pruitt (elbow), DH Yordan Alvarez (knee)

Restricted: LHP Kent Emanuel (PEDs), RHP Joe Smith (opt out?)