Houston Astros (61-79) at Oakland Athletics (79-60), 9:05 p.m. (CST)
TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
A's SBNation Blog: Athletics Nation
LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-10, 4.39 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-11, 3.14 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
How a month, or a trade changes the outlook on a team. The A's were riding high before the trade deadline, the best team in baseball by far. But, a 12-17 record in August can make a team and it's fanbase question it's future. The low point, a four-game sweep at the hands of AL-West leading Los Angeles. All is not lost the A's are still sitting pretty in first place in the Wild Card standing- 2.5 games up on all comers, and only sit five games back of the Angels with 23 games to go.
In come the Astros to O.co Collisum, who the A's are 25-10 against since Houston joined the American League West. But, Houston has come to life where the A's fell flat in August. Houston has a higher batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging (.248/.318/.387) in August compared to the A's (.222/.300/.344). The Astros pitching staff last month also stayed on par with the likes of Samardzija, Lester, Gray, Kazmir, and the A's bullpen - posting a 3.83 ERA compared to 3.71 for Oakland. The Astros were one inning away from taking two of three form the A's in their last meeting. A Sam Fuld home run undid the Astros in the final game of the series, as Astros closer Chad Qualls has given up 11 of his 18 earned runs this season to Oakland.
Brett Oberholtzer will attempt to keep the A's offense at bay in game one tonight. Houston has been in the win column in six of his last nine starts and eight of his last 13. But, Obe' has given up 14 runs over his last 16.1 innings of work - including seven over 4.1 innings against Texas in his last start. The Astros' lefty is facing the A's for a fifth time this season, he has 4.70 ERA in 23 innings against Oakland this season.
All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson is batting .462 (6-13) with five extra-base hits against Oberholtzer in his career. Craig Gentry is batting .364 (4-11) with two doubles against Obe'. Former Astros Jed Lowrie is batting .400 (6-15) with two extra-base hits, and Stephen Vogt is 2-for-3 with a double and home run.
Former Cub, Jeff Samardzija has already faced the Astros three times since switch to green and gold. He has given up seven earned runs in 22.1 innings against Houston this season. The righty has gone eight innings against twice against Houston this season. He is coming off quality start in a losing effort against the Angels on August 30 - giving up one earned runs over eight innings Samardzija has 19 strikeouts and just one walk in his last two starts, both of which he last eight innings.
Former A's slugger, Chris Carter is batting .417 (5-12) against Samardzija with four extra-base hits. Jason Castro is batting .333 (5-15) with three doubles, and Marwin Gonzalez is 4-for-13 with a double and home run in his career against tonight's starter.