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The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros open a three-game series Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. The Astros come from an impressive four-game four-game series from the Cleveland Indians. They have scratched their way ahead in the AL West standings and are currently sitting 3.5 games ahead of second-placed Oakland. The athletics were held to just one win over the weekend against Boston at home.
Oakland closed by Boston
Sunday was the rubber match between the Red Sox and Athletics at the RingCentral Coliseum. The A’s desperately needed this one to gain some ground in the division, but came up short in a 1-0 shut-out loss to the Sox. The only score came in the top six when Rafael Devers hit a double play and Alex Verdugo came in to score. Athletics’ bat was dormant throughout the match as Boston starter Nick Pivetta brought his best stuff against the Oakland lineup. He lasted seven innings and knocked out 10 athletics, leading his team to the league win. James Kaprielian took the loss for athletics. He was in it to win it in this low-scoring affair, beating 10 Red Sox and allowing only a walk over seven innings of work. Unfortunately for him, he allowed the only run in the ball game that cost him and his ball club the loss on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Bassitt gets the starting nod for athletics Monday night in Houston. The starter has fared well for Oakland this season and boasts a 9-2 record over 17 starts with an ERA of 3.03. His WHIP of 1.03 this season is excellent as he has had full control over 106 innings of work in 2021. Bassitt allowed zero runs over seven innings in his most recent start. He had a WHIP of 0.57, knocked out seven and earned the win in a 3-1 Oakland victory over Texas. In his last three starts, Bassitt has only allowed three earned races and has beaten 18 combined hits.
Matt Olson has been a man among boys this season in the athletics slogan. You invent Fan-graphs, that Oakland’s first baseman hits .283 with 20 home runs and 53 RBIs. He leads the team in hits, RBIs, home runs and the average for strokes of the season, and more impressively, that doesn’t change when athletics hits the road. Olson hits .308 at home a year with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. He leads an athletic crime that performs better when they are on the road than at home. According to Oddsshark, Oakland is 7th in the MLB in goals per. Outdoor match (4.84) and 2nd in hits per. Away camp (8.7).
Astros jump back with a road sweep
After being swept away by a bad Orioles team at home, the Astros put on their road warrior caps and swept the Cleveland Indians in four games. The sweep was an excellent display of clutch strokes and masterful pitching as the Astros outscored the Indians 20-10 combined throughout the series. They won the last game of the series as -137 favorites with Zack Greinke on the mound. The Astros won the game with a score of 4-3 in extra innings as Yuli Gurriel scored the winning run in the 10th inning. On ESPN, Houston manager, Dusty Baker had this to say about his team’s performance in extra innings, “It was really wild, the 10th inning,” Baker said. “One-run games are so much, very, very important to win, and we squeaked one out. This was a great weekend for us and today was a very good day. “With the victory, the Astros were able to gain more ground in athletics in the position. Houston still sits in first place, 3.5 games ahead of Oakland. Make this upcoming series even more important.
Framber Valdez starts for Houston in the first competition of this series against Oakland. The 27-year-old lefty is 5-1 (2.18 ERA) in 7 starts this season for the Astros. He has allowed seven home runs and 11 earned runs in his 45 innings as a starting pitcher in 2021. Framber started in the first game of the Cleveland series as he led the Astros to a 7-2 victory over the tribe. He allowed two earned runs over seven innings and earned the win.
The Astros are ranked No. 1 offensively, but they take a small step back when playing at home. At Minute Maid Park, Houston is 6th in total number of runs per. Match (5.38) and 4th in hits (8.90). They are 14th in home runs this season (50) compared to 4th in MLB when away from home (59). This is still a very dangerous line-up that has contributed to a solid home run this season (26-16). They are more than capable of turning on the jets anytime in Minute Maid Park. In their last 10 against athletics, Houston averages 6.7 runs compared to Oakland’s 3.5.
- 2-4 in their last 6 when playing Oakland at home
- 8-2 versus AL West left-handed starters this season
- 22-15 this season on the way