Saturday MLB FS1 Preview: Oakland versus Houston.
Oakland plays at Houston on FS1 at 4 PM ET to conclude their two-game series. The A’s won for just the second time in nine games this season with their 6-2 victory against the Astros last night. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 in the eighth inning before Matt Olsen broke things open with a three-run blast.
The A’s won the AL West last season but lost some key pieces from that team, including shortstop Marcus Siemien and closer Liam Hendricks. Billy Beane and general manager David Forst brought in Elvis Andrus to play short and Trevor Rosenthal to close games. Rosenthal has since suffered a shoulder injury that placed him on the 60-day disabled list.
Oakland is averaging only 2.4 runs per game this season with a .170 batting average, .253 on-base percentage, and an OPS of 514. The bullpen has a 6.21 ERA with a 1.68 WHIP. Manager Bob Melvin currently is using a committee of Lou Trivino, Jake Diekman, and Sergio Romo to close out games. Diekman pitched the ninth inning last night but gave up a run.
Frankie Montas makes his second start for the A’s this afternoon. He was rocked for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of work in his initial start this season at home against the Dodgers. The 28-year old right-hander was 3-5 with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 11 starts last year.
Houston was 0-9 last night with runners in scoring position. Sluggers Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez at the heart of their lineup combined to go 0-13 at the plate. It was just the second loss for the Astros in eight games this season.
Dusty Baker led this team to within one game of the World Series in his first year managing the club. Houston has won the AL West title in three of the last four seasons. They lost outfielder George Springer to free agency in the offseason. Brantley got signed to take his spot. The Astros also got Alvarez back on the field after the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year winner only played two games last year because of injuries and COVID.
Houston is averaging 7.3 runs per game this season with a .290 batting average, an on-base percentage of .354, and an OPS of .890. The Astros have a bullpen ERA of 2.93 with a 1.16 WHIP.
Baker turns to Jose Urquidy after he allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings at Oakland in his first start on April 4th. The 25-year old right-hander had a 1-1 record with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in five starts last year.
This showdown is already the seventh meeting between these two AL West rivals this season. Houston has won five of the six games. Both teams have Sunday off before embarking on a new series on Monday. The Astros host Detroit for three games next week while the A's travel to Arizona for a two-game series.
BetAnySports lists the Astros as a -143 money line favorite with a total set at 9.
Computer prediction: Houston Astros 5 Oakland A's 4