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Game Thread #38: Oakland A’s vs. Houston Astros

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Division showdown, BEGIN

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Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros - Game One
Aim for the sky!
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Things are about to get real.

The Oakland A’s lead the AL West division by 3.5 games with around three weeks left in the regular season. The team chasing them, the Houston Astros, now comes to town for five games in four days. This series could potentially decide the division crown — if the A’s win in lopsided fashion then they could bury the Astros for good, or if Houston does so then they could turn the tide and put themselves in the driver’s seat of the race. Even just three wins by Oakland would be tough to overcome with no more head-to-heads remaining.

The A’s will begin their charge with Chris Bassitt on the mound. The right-hander has been shaky over his last four starts, allowing 3-4 runs in each, and last time out (against the Astros, on the road) he failed to make it out of the 4th inning. In this game, however, he’ll face a lineup missing former MVP Jose Altuve and reigning runner-up Alex Bregman, both of whom are dealing with leg injuries.

Houston answers back with rookie Cristian Javier. The 23-year-old right-hander has put up solid numbers for the season, but got roughed up against the A’s in early August to the tune of five runs in three innings, including homers by Robbie Grossman, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman. Unfortunately, Chapman isn’t in the lineup as he deals with right hip tendinitis, and shortstop Marcus Semien is also still out for now. Both teams are missing a pair of superstar-level infielders tonight.

First pitch is 6:00 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. 3B Tommy La Stella (L)
  2. CF Ramon Laureano (R)
  3. DH Mark Canha (R)
  4. 1B Matt Olson (L)
  5. LF Robbie Grossman (S)
  6. RF Stephen Piscotty (R)
  7. 2B Tony Kemp (L)
  8. C Sean Murphy (R)
  9. SS Vimael Machin (L)
  • Chris Bassitt, RHP

La Stella takes over at third, with Kemp returning to the lineup at the keystone. Everybody moves up a spot with Chapman out.

Astros lineup (away)

  1. CF George Springer (R)
  2. RF Josh Reddick (L)
  3. LF Michael Brantley (L)
  4. 1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
  5. DH Kyle Tucker (L)
  6. SS Carlos Correa (R)
  7. 2B Aledmys Diaz (R)
  8. 3B Abraham Toro (S)
  9. C Dustin Garneau (R)
  • Cristian Javier, RHP

The bottom third isn’t quite what we’re used to from the Astros, but there’s still a lot of star power in this group. And Garneau has beaten the A’s before.

Let’s Go Oakland!