The Oakland Athletics will look to keep rolling Thursday when they continue their homestand with a four-game series against the Houston Astros. The A’s secured a series win over the Boston Red Sox Wednesday with a 6-5 victory thanks to a couple of more home runs and some good bullpen work late. Hogan Harris is Oakland’s listed starter for Thursday while J.P. France will take the mound for Houston.
The A’s have listed Harris as the team’s starter, but there is a decent chance that he follows an opener. Whether he starts or now, it has been a struggle of late for Harris who has allowed 20 runs over his last 18 2/3 innings, a stretch spanning four starts. Walks have been a big issue for Harris who has issued 13 free passes over his last four outings. That comes after a four game stretch where he issued just three walks total over 23 innings. So dialing back into the strike zone is key to him finding success.
Injuries in the rotation pressed France into service for the Astros in May and he has pitched well for them producing a 3.31 ERA in 70 2/3 innings. However, his 4.65 FIP is over a full run higher than his ERA and his 16.9% strikeout rate is pretty low for a starter. France failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his last start where he allowed nine hits and four runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Angels.
The A’s got homers from JJ Bleday, Jace Peterson and Cody Thomas in Wednesday’s win. For Bleday, it was his second home run in as many days. Tony Kemp continued his second half surge with two hits, extending his hitting streak to seven-straight games.
Oakland will be without first baseman Ryan Noda for the foreseeable future after he suffered a fractured jaw when he was struck in the face during pregame work on Tuesday. The A’s haven’t officially announced the move, but it is likely to come before Thursday’s game. Tyler Soderstrom started at first base in place of Noda Wednesday.
The A’s also got the jump on trade season Wednesday sending righty Shintaro Fujinami to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league left-hander Easton Lucas.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, July 20, 6:40 p.m. PDT
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
Radio: A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM / 103.7 HD2, KIQI 1010