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Game Thread #42: Oakland A’s vs. Houston Astros

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Finale of the division showdown

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San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s can’t mathematically clinch the AL West division crown on Thursday, but they can functionally wrap it up with a victory.

The A’s are 5.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros in the standings, and so far have beaten the Astros in three of four games this week. They have one more this afternoon, and then only 18 games remaining after that in the regular season.

Oakland calls on Sean Manaea to start the series finale. The lefty looked dynamite his last time out, finally recovering a couple extra ticks of velocity that had been missing for a long time — 92.1 mph average, 94.6 high. That helped him spin five strong innings against the Padres, the highest-scoring lineup in the majors.

The Astros send out Jose Urquidy, for just his second start of the season. He had a brief but nice rookie year in 2019, including a memorable World Series performance against the Nationals. He faced the A’s once last summer and struck out 10 of the 17 batters he faced over five sparkling innings, though Marcus Semien did hit a homer off him.

Oakland is still missing third baseman Matt Chapman from the lineup with day-to-day hip tendinitis, as well as right fielder Stephen Piscotty due to a sore wrist. Piscotty got a cortisone shot in the wrist and will be unavailable for a couple days, reports Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Alex Bregman is back in the order for Houston, after playing just two of the first four games as he eases into action from a pulled hammy.

First pitch is 12:40 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. 2B Tommy La Stella (L)
  2. SS Marcus Semien (R)
  3. CF Ramon Laureano (R)
  4. 1B Matt Olson (L)
  5. LF Robbie Grossman (S)
  6. RF Mark Canha (R)
  7. DH Vimael Machin (L)
  8. 3B Chad Pinder (R)
  9. C Jonah Heim (S)
  • Sean Manaea, LHP

Hittin Machin isn’t needed at SS anymore but stays in there as a lefty DH, especially while Piscotty is out.

Astros lineup (away)

  1. DH George Springer (R)
  2. 3B Alex Bregman (R)
  3. LF Michael Brantley (L)
  4. 1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
  5. RF Kyle Tucker (L)
  6. SS Carlos Correa (R)
  7. RF Josh Reddick (L)
  8. 2B Aledmys Diaz (R)
  9. C Martin Maldonado (R)
  • Jose Urquidy, RHP

Bregman is back in there, with Diaz moved down lower in the order.

Let’s Go Oakland!