Oakland at Houston, 7:10 pm (CT)
LHP Tommy Milone (8-8 / 4.24 ERA / 1.27 WHIP) vs. RHP Dallas Keuchel (4-5 / 4.62 ERA / 1.51 WHIP)
The weekend series with the M's couldn't end soon enough. Thankfully, the Astros brass couldn't have had better timing, throwing lifeline to Astros fans late Sunday night. The prospect revolution begins, Jonathan Villar and Jarred Cosart have joined the 25-Man roster just in time for the Athletics to come to town.
When we last saw the A's, they had just squeaked past the Rangers at the top of the AL West standing. Oakland now holds a three game lead in the west, as the Rangers tailspin with 3-7 record in their last ten.
The A's offense sputtered out of the gate against the Angels in their previous series, scoring six of their seven the entire series in their lone in win. Only three batters are batting over .200 after the three games against Los Angeles, Eric Sograd, Brandon Moss, and Nate Freiman (I hear your cries about small sample sizes. It's only the second series after the break.) Sogard is batting .500 in eight at-bats since the All-Star break with a home run and two runs batted in.
The A's will likely be without Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes once again with sore left wrist. Cepedes has been scratched from the lineup in the A's previous two games.
Tommy Milone's last start before the All-Star break was cut short by a three-hour rain delay in Pittsburgh. To top it off, Milone hasn't pitched in 11 days. The Oakland left-hander will be rested to say the least. He is 1-0 in two starts against Houston this season, collecting a 4.61 ERA and striking out 12. J.D. Martinez is batting .375 against the lefty with a home run and three runs batted in.
Dallas Kechuel has faced the Oakland batting order three times this season, with a loss in his only start. In that April start, Kechuel gave up six runs on 10 hits. In his most recent starts, he has struggled to get out the sixth inning. Kechuel's ERA in July is 6.00 over three starts. Nate Freiman is two-for-three against Kechuel with a home run and three runs batted.