ATHLETICS @ ASTROS
April 28-30, 2017
What happened in the last series?
The A’s went on a hot streak since we last saw them, taking two of three from the Rangers and three of four from the Mariners. However, they just got swept by the Angels in Anaheim, including an extra-inning loss on Tuesday.
We just watched the Astros lose two of three in Cleveland that could have easily been a sweep for the good guys if a few things had panned out differently. It’s especially difficult to watch them get only three runs on eleven hits, and losing regular contributors like Marisnick, Springer, and Altuve for part or all of the series certainly didn’t help either. Then again, the Indians are a few months removed from winning a pennant so that adds some perspective.
Friday, April 28 – 7:10pm CDT
Jharel Cotton (2-2, 4.76) vs. Charlie Morton (1-2, 4.29)
Cotton is in his first full season after a cup of coffee in 2016, when he went 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA over five starts. Through four starts this season he’s alternated between success (two quality starts, including two-hitting the Royals over seven scoreless innings) and something less (allowing five earned runs to both the Rangers and Angels). He gets more fly ball outs than anything, which may play well for the Astros at Minute Maid. He did see Houston during his brief MLB stint last season, pitching six innings and giving up one run.
Morton allowed five runs in as many innings against the Rays last Saturday. With lots of traffic on the basepaths (1.57 WHIP) he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to work very deep into games, having three straight appearances of just five innings.
Saturday, April 29 – 6:10pm CDT
Andrew Triggs (3-1, 2.42) vs. Joe Musgrove (1-1, 5.91)
Triggs split time between Oakland’s rotation and bullpen last year; one remarkable stat is that, out of 24 appearances he made in 2016, the A’s only won two of those games. and has enjoyed early success starting games this season, racking up wins against the Angels, Royals, and Rangers without allowing a single earned run. Then the Mariners slapped him around a little, tagging him for six runs in a game they went on to win 11-1. Last season, in four innings of stop-the-bleeding relief, he gave up five runs to the Astros in Houston.
Young pitchers can be frustrating to watch and Musgrove has been no exception this month. That said, he did a pretty damn fine job of rebounding from a 4-run 1st inning against the Rays, a game the Astros would go on to win in extras. In two starts against the A’s in 2016 he allowed only one run in 10+ innings.
Sunday, April 30 – 1:10pm CDT
Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.08) vs. Dallas Keuchel (4-0, 1.22)
Remember how I mentioned that stop-the-bleeding appearance that Triggs made against the Astros in 2016? Jesse Hahn started that game, but nobody remembered since he allowed seven runs and didn’t make it out of the 1st. This season, though, he’s strung together four quality starts but has been hampered by his bullpen blowing leads (against the Rangers) and poor run support (against the Angels).
In six starts since the Astros have been worth a damn, Keuchel has a 1.43 ERA against the A’s, and he’s already rolled up a win on them this season. Come hungry.