Houston Astros (42-25) at Oakland Athletics (34-32)
When and Where: Wednesday, June 13, Oakland, California, 10:05 P.M. EST
The Houston Astros and Oakland A’s will play once again in an AL West matchup in the Bay Area. The Astros are still a half game behind the Mariners despite their excellent record and will look to take the lead back this week at the expense of the A’s. The Oakland Athletics have a winning record but are in fourth place in a stacked division. They are currently eight wins out of first place.
Astros chase after the Mariners
The Houston Astros are hanging tough in the AL West despite a huge hot streak by the Mariners. If the Astros can string together a few wins, they are in a great position to take back the division lead. George Springer has a hot bat this season to lead the Astros offense. He is hitting .295 on the year with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 51 runs to lead the team. As always, Jose Altuve is as consistent as it gets, hitting .342 on the season and driving in 34 runs. Carlos Correa is an important piece of the order as well, with 10 home runs and 39 RBI.
The Astros are scheduled to start one of the best pitchers in baseball in Gerrit Cole this Wednesday night. He is 7-1 so far this year with a 2.16 ERA. Cole is in the top five in nearly every pitching category in baseball including 124 strikeouts and 0.84 WHIP through 87.2 innings. Cole is yet to pitch less than five innings in a game, often giving the bullpen a break. That bullpen is led by Chris Devenski who has appeared in 27 games and holds a 1.75 ERA. Ken Giles has seen his share of struggles this season but has been solid when it counts, converting all 10 of his save attempts.
Oakland looks to prove they belong with the best in the West
The Oakland Athletics clearly have a solid team that can keep a winning record but they are not on par with the dominant forces in the AL West. We can learn a lot about the potential of this A’s team based on their performances against teams like Houston. Their offense is led by the power if Khris Davis and consistency of Jed Lowrie. Davis has hit 17 home runs for 46 RBI this season but does not get on base as often as he would like. Jed Lowrie is hitting .285 on the season with 17 doubles, nine home runs, and 42 RBI.
The Athletics are expected to send Paul Blackburn to the mound this Wednesday night to make the start at home. This will only be his second start of the year but his first one was very convincing. Blackburn picked up a win, pitching six innings and allowing one run on just three hits. The bullpen of Oakland is led by Blake Treinen who has been lights out as a closer in 2018. He is 3-1 with a 0.87 ERA with 14 saves in his 25 appearances. Treinen has also proven that he can pitch multiple innings which could be huge if the A’s do not want to push Blackburn too deep.
- 7-1 in Cole’s last eight starts
- 36-16 in last 52 vs. AL West
- 0-5 in last five Wednesday games
- 1-8 in last nine vs. AL West
This is a very interesting matchup due to the unknown that is the A’s pitching. Blackburn was very impressive in his first start but we have not seen enough of him to guess how he will perform against a stacked lineup like the Astros have. Gerrit Cole, on the other hand, is as battle-tested as it gets and could have his way with the Oakland offense. As long as he can avoid big power shots from Davis and the A’s he should get his team the win.