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Game Thread #15: Oakland A’s vs. Houston Astros

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Looking to clinch the series win

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MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Oakland Athletics Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Seven-game winning streak! First place in the AL West by 3.5 games!

The Oakland A’s are rolling. On Friday they hosted the Houston Astros for their first division heavyweight showdown, and it didn’t disappoint, or perhaps it massively disappointed, depending on whether you prefer the thrilling suspense of 13 innings or were annoyed by so much frustrating futility among the hitters.

Either way, the A’s won — after briefly falling behind in the 13th, they scored two in the bottom half to walk it off, courtesy of Marcus Semien.

The two teams are at it again 15 hours later, for the second of their three-game series. Saturday features Frankie Montas on the mound for Oakland, looking for his second straight quality start after going seven strong last time against the Seattle Mariners. The right-hander faced Houston twice last summer, both in April, winning once in a quality start and then losing in a five-inning effort. Overall he allowed three runs in 11.1 frames, with 11 strikeouts and a homer by Carlos Correa.

The Astros turn to 26-year-old Framber Valdez. The lefty has nice velocity and big strikeout potential but also a serious walk problem, though he’s kept away from the free passes so far in his first two outings of 2020. The A’s saw him twice last year as a reliever, putting up two runs in five innings.

The A’s so far have nearly identical platoon splits, with only a one-point difference in their OPS marks against righty pitchers and southpaws, though they have a better K/BB against righties. On the other hand, when looking at starters specifically, they’re 150 points better against lefties than righties, helped along by their success against Justus Sheffield and Mike Minor over the last week.

First pitch is 1:10 p.m., with the following options to watch or listen:

  • TV: NBC Sports California
  • Radio: 960 AM
  • Online video stream: fuboTV
  • Online audio stream: iHeartRadio

A’s lineup (home)

  1. SS Marcus Semien (R)
  2. CF Ramon Laureano (R)
  3. 3B Matt Chapman (R)
  4. LF Mark Canha (R)
  5. 1B Matt Olson (L)
  6. 2B Chad Pinder (R)
  7. DH Khris Davis (R)
  8. RF Stephen Piscotty (R)
  9. C Sean Murphy (R)
  • Frankie Montas, RHP

Platoon lineup against the lefty. That means no Tony Kemp or Robbie Grossman, with Pinder and Piscotty in their place.

Astros lineup (away)

  1. LF Kyle Tucker (L)
  2. 2B Jose Altuve (R)
  3. 3B Alex Bregman (R)
  4. DH Michael Brantley (L)
  5. 1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
  6. SS Carlos Correa (R)
  7. RF Josh Reddick (L)
  8. CF Myles Straw (R)
  9. C Dustin Garneau (R)
  • Framber Valdez, LHP

Same as yesterday, but with old friend Garneau catching after Martin Maldonado worked hard in last night’s game.

Let’s Go Oakland!