ASTROS (37-20) AT ATHLETICS (29-27)
10:07 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, ATTSN-SW, MLB.TV
The Oakland Athletics hope to trim more from their American League West deficit when they host the first-place Houston Astros in a three-game series that begins Friday night.
The A’s trailed the Astros by 9 1/2 games two weeks ago before winning 10 in a row. They lost their last two games to the Los Angeles Angels and currently stand 7 1/2 back of Houston, the defending division champ.
Three games of the deficit can be directly attributed to five earlier meetings with the Astros. Houston won the first four, including a three-game sweep at home, before the A’s salvaged a split of their two-game home series.
Both of those series were in April.
The Astros dominated the season series 12-7 last year but will have to go without at least two key players — George Springer (hamstring) and Carlos Correa (fractured rib) — in this series. Jose Altuve (hamstring), who also has been on the injured list, is questionable.
Correa missed the three-game series against the Chicago Cubs earlier this week after, he maintains, he sustained his rib injury while getting a massage.
“I’m extremely disappointed about not being on the field with my teammates,” he said in a statement this week. “To sustain an injury in such an unusual way makes it even more frustrating.”
Playing short-handed didn’t negatively impact the Astros on their just completed homestand, one in which they took two of three from both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs in the past week.
Rookie shortstop Jack Mayfield was summoned from Triple-A and responded with his first big-league hit, a double, in Houston’s Monday win over the Cubs.
The A’s also have been without one of their big guns — Khris Davis (oblique strain) — in recent games. But it wasn’t a lack of power that prevented Oakland from adding to its 10-game winning streak in the losses to the Angels on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The A’s got homers from seven different players, nine total, while being outscored 23-19 in the three-game set against Los Angeles.
“Our offense had a good game today. I know I didn’t help anyone out there,” noted reliever Lou Trivino, who gave up five runs in the 11th inning of a 12-7 loss Wednesday. “This loss is on me.”
The series opener features a pitching rematch from a 9-8 Astros home win on April 7. Neither starter got a decision in that game.
Houston’s Brad Peacock (5-2, 3.19 ERA) worked five innings that day, allowing five runs and seven hits. He is 3-6 in his career against the A’s with a 4.45 ERA in 25 games, including 14 starts.
Robbie Grossman homered off him in the earlier meeting.
The A’s will counter with ace Mike Fiers (4-3, 5.00 ERA), who usually saves his best for home games, where he is 4-2 with a 3.78 ERA this season.
He was bombed for a three-run home run by Aledmys Diaz in a five-run first inning in the Houston outing, then was pulled after allowing six runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Fiers is 1-2 with a 7.32 ERA in four career starts against the Astros, for whom he played three seasons earlier in his career.
–Field Level Media