Houston-Oakland Preview

Astros head to Oakland for a showdown with 1st place A's

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

PROBABLE STARTERS

Fri. Aug 7: Zack Greinke (0-0, 5.00 ERA) vs. Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.93)

Sat. Aug 8: Framber Valdez (0-1, 2.53) vs. Frankie Montas (1-1, 2.25)

Sun. Aug 9: Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.42) vs. Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 2.31)

STORYLINES

  • Who reigns supreme in the AL West? The Astros have been the clear and dominant power in the AL West for three seasons, with the Athletics being a consistent second fiddle. Well, 20% of the season is gone, and the A's have a 2.5 game lead on Houston. A bad series for Houston will give them quite a hole to dig out of.
  • Is George Springer okay? Springer left the game against the Diamondbacks on Thursday night with a wrist injury. Springer was starting to find himself at the plate, so it would be unfortunate if he misses time due to injury and has to find his timing again.
  • Who is Ryan Pressly? Ryan Pressly has only been used twice, only faced nine hitters, allowed five hits to those nine hitters, walked two others, and only recorded two outs. He was responsible for the loss on Thursday night, failing to record an out in his first save opportunity of the year. With Roberto Osuna on the shelf, the Astros need vintage Pressly, not this Pressly.
  • A new ace in town? Athletics phenom Jesus Luzardo made his starting pitching debut earlier this week, twirling five innings of scoreless baseball against the Texas Rangers. If Luzardo, the first Peruvian-born big leaguer in MLB history, is the pitcher that experts think he is, then Oakland might have the best pitching staff in baseball.

PREDICTIONS

The Athletics represent another formidable opponent for the Astros, as they return to divisional play. All three pitching matchups are even, as Greinke looks to build on his second start versus the reliable Chris Bassitt, Valdez looks to prove he's a long term rotation option versus the electric Frankie Montas, and two up-and-coming arms square off on Sunday. Ultimately, it will be up to which offense can wreak more havoc. Right now, that offense is Oakland. The A's will take two of three.

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