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Astros vs. Athletics: Pre-game notes

News and notes before Houston's sixth game of the season and the series finale against the Oakland A's

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Porter's pre-game press conference

Before today's game against the Oakland Athletics, Bo Porter spoke briefly to the media. Here are a few excerpts from his chat.

On Dallas Keuchel's performance Saturday:

"He did a good job of attacking the zone and avoiding contact. He saved our bullpen and kept it in good shape for today's game."

On the starting pitching performances Houston has gotten so far and whether he's concerned pitchers aren't working deeper into games:

"Our starting pitchers this entire first five games, all of them have given us an opportunity to win a game. If you get good starting pitching, you'll be in a lot of ballgames that you'll have a chance to win. You always want starting pitchers to go deep, but at the same time, we're going to monitor some guys pitch counts more than others. As the game progresses, you'll rely on your eyes to tell you when a guy can continue."

On why a win today would be good for the team:

"You always set your sights on winning a ballgame every time you take the field. But, any time you are in position where you can end a losing streak, you want to do it as quickly as possible. If you look at our four losses, we've been in every ballgame. It'd be nice to get over the hump today and get a win."

Has there been anything that has surprised you so far:

"No, the things that have taken place, these guys are working hard and doing the things we're asking them to do. There are some adjustments that need to be made, that will continue to be made. I was very pleased with the offense last night. They were starting to get their pitches to hit and the results on the scoreboard showed that. Jason (Castro) hit a big three-run home run and those guys are starting to zone in and get their pitches to hit."

On whether Carlos Corporan is Lucas Harrell's personal catcher:

"I think they've developed a really good rapport. With today being a day game after a night game, I would have given Jason the day off any way. It just so happens that it lines up that Corporan is the catcher for Harrell again."

On whether this road trip will be a nice break for the team:

"We've had our schedule for a long time. We've looked at the schedule. It's not like this road trip snuck up on us. We knew it was coming. We're going to continue to prepare, go out every game and have a good ballgame."

On his impressions of the AL West so far:

"We haven't been through the whole division. This is major league baseball. It's not like these teams are coming over from Japan. They've been in major league baseball, we've been in major league baseball. We have a sense of what their roster is like and we know what our roster is like. It's a long season and we're going to let the schedule play out."

Notes from the media release:

RHP Lucas Harrell will start for Houston this afternoon vs. A's LHP Brett Anderson. On July 30, 2010, Harrell defeated Anderson and the A's, 6-1, in what was his Major League debut for the Chicago White Sox. In three career appearances against the A's, Harrell is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 8 1/3 innings.

The Astros have received solid starting pitching thus far in 2013. The starter's combined ERA of 2.63 is the lowest among American League clubs. Going back to last season, Houston starters have posted a 2.09 ERA in their last nine game, spanning 51 2/3 innings. Only the Cubs and the Dodgers have lower starter's ERAs over that span.

Jose Altuve has hit safely in the team's first five games. His .438 batting average is tops among second basemen in the majors.

Today's game wraps up the second series ever with the A's in Houston. The Astros lost two of three to the A's in from June 12-14, 2007. Houston has only played Oakland three times in history, getting swept in a three-game set in Oakland in 2002.

Probable pitching matchups for the Seattle series:

Monday: Phillip Humber vs. Joe Saunders

Tuesday: Erik Bedard vs. Brandon Morrow

Wednesday: Brad Peacock vs. Blake Beavan