MLB Game Preview - Athletics v Astros

MLB Baseball
Scoreboard|Postseason|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Oakland1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 361
Houston0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 260
  W: H. Bailey (13-8)   L: J. Verlander (18-6)   S: L. Hendriks (21)
5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, September 12, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 34,024

Verlander, Astros attempt to cool surging A's

According to STATS
According to STATS

Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros

  1. Houston took eight of the first nine matchups with Oakland this season but the A's have won four of the last six. The Astros are 46-15 against the AL West this season, the best record by any team against its own division.
  2. Oakland's starting pitchers have posted a 3.18 ERA over the last 35 games, second best in the AL dating back to July 29 (Houston is third at 3.57). The A's starters have walked just 2.05 batters per nine innings in that span, best in MLB.
  3. The Astros defeated the Mariners by 20 runs yesterday after beating the Orioles by 21 runs on Aug. 10. They're the first team to win two games by 20+ runs in the same season since the 1939 Yankees (three).
  4. Marcus Semien has hit for the cycle in his last five games, totaling three singles, three doubles, one triple and one home run. This is the second time this season he has matched each of those totals in a five-game span -- the only other player in the AL with multiple such spans is Detroit's JaCoby Jones.
  5. Yordan Alvarez hit three doubles yesterday in his 70th career game, bringing him to 22 doubles and 22 home runs on the season. That is the fastest a player has ever reached 20 doubles and 20 home runs in MLB history, surpassing Ronald Acuna Jr.'s record set last season (77 games).
  6. Mike Fiers has made 21 straight starts without a loss, tied for the third-longest streak in the live-ball era (since 1920). Zack Greinke is one win away from his eighth 15-win season in the last nine years -- in the last 35 years, only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have had eight 15-win seasons in a nine-year span.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/9/2019 thru 9/12/2019
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Oakland Athletics have already established a handful of youngsters as future cornerstones of their franchise, with the emergence of catcher Sean Murphy the latest noteworthy development.

The 24-year-old rookie has served notice to the Houston Astros with three home runs in two games, including a leadoff blast in the sixth inning Wednesday that keyed the Athletics' 5-3 comeback victory at Minute Maid Park. Oakland handed the Astros their second consecutive home loss, the first team to do so since Pittsburgh in late June, and is responsible for three of the four losses Houston has suffered at Minute Maid Park against American League West competition.

If the Athletics are to keep their faint division pennant hopes alive with a series victory, Murphy might prove critical to meeting that goal with his dual contributions as a power-laden backstop.

"Both behind the plate, you have to learn a pitching staff, you're having to learn players in the league with extensive scouting reports these days, and he handles it really well," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "Obviously, the bat has shown up, too. The more he plays, the more comfortable he's going to be, and he looks pretty comfortable right now."

Right-hander Homer Bailey (12-8, 4.87 ERA) will start for Oakland Thursday.

Bailey is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA over his last five starts after going 2-2 with an 8.17 ERA over his first five starts with the Athletics. Bailey is 5-2 with a 4.98 ERA over 10 starts with the Athletics. He has walked one batter or fewer in each of his last six starts, the longest such streak of his career. Bailey is 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA over nine career starts against Houston. He took the loss on July 22 after allowing nine runs on eight hits and three walks with two strikeouts over two innings.

Right-hander Justin Verlander (18-5, 2.52 ERA) will start the series finale for the Astros. He has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his past five starts, going 3-1 with a 1.21 ERA and 47 strikeouts against two walks during that stretch. Verlander has surrendered a .113/.134/.258 slash line over 37 1/3 innings in that span. He is 14-6 with a 2.53 ERA over 23 career starts against the Athletics including a 2-0 record and 1.29 ERA in three starts this season. In his previous appearance against Oakland, Verlander allowed two runs on four hits with 11 strikeouts in seven innings but did not factor into the decision of a 3-2 loss on Aug. 16.

With Verlander having logged 200 innings on the season to lead the majors, the Astros aren't in dire straits in terms of needing additional length from their bullpen in the series finale. Houston did utilize five relievers to cover the final four innings Wednesday after starter Wade Miley produced only one out Tuesday. There are extra arms available, but the Astros could use some relief reliability if they plan to earn a split of the series and lower their magic number to six.

"Our bullpen in general wasn't very sharp," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "While they were rested they also didn't quite execute even though a couple guys got out of some innings. But we'll be locked and loaded ready (for Thursday)."

--Field Level Media

Updated September 12, 2019

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